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our friends the machines & other mysteries
our friends the machines & other mysteries
our friends the machines & other mysteries
CREATOR OF THE LOOP UNIVERSE Simon Stålenhag WRITERS Mikael Bergström, Steve Daldry, Gabrielle de Bourg,
CREATOR OF THE LOOP UNIVERSE
Simon Stålenhag
WRITERS
Mikael Bergström, Steve Daldry, Gabrielle de Bourg,
Anders Fager, Björn Hellqvist, Nils Hintze, Nils Karlén
ILLUSTRATIONS
Simon Stålenhag, Reine Rosenberg
Karlén ILLUSTRATIONS Simon Stålenhag, Reine Rosenberg PROJECT MANAGER Tomas Härenstam EDITORS Rickard Antroia,

PROJECT MANAGER

Tomas HärenstamSimon Stålenhag, Reine Rosenberg PROJECT MANAGER EDITORS Rickard Antroia, Nils Karlén GRAPHIC DESIGN &

EDITORS

Rickard Antroia, Nils Karlén

GRAPHIC DESIGN & MAPS

Christian Granath

TRANSLATION

Edgardo Montes Rosa

PROOFREADING

John M. Kahane, John Marron, Kosta Kostulas

PROOFREADING John M. Kahane, John Marron, Kosta Kostulas COPYRIGHT © 2017 SIMON STÅLENHAG AND FRIA LIGAN

COPYRIGHT © 2017 SIMON STÅLENHAG AND FRIA LIGAN AB ISBN: 978-91-87222-93-1

John M. Kahane, John Marron, Kosta Kostulas COPYRIGHT © 2017 SIMON STÅLENHAG AND FRIA LIGAN AB

INNEHÅLL

INNEHÅLL O1. INTRODUCTION O2. OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES O3. HORROR MOVIE MAYHEM THE TRUTH OF THE

O1.

INTRODUCTION

O2.

OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES

O3.

HORROR MOVIE MAYHEM

O2. OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES O3. HORROR MOVIE MAYHEM THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY THE MACHINES
O2. OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES O3. HORROR MOVIE MAYHEM THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY THE MACHINES

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

THE MACHINES 8

7

 

BEING CHIPPED

10

BOULDER CITY

11

INTRODUCING

INTRODUCING

THE KIDS

11

INTRODUCING

INTRODUCING

THE MYSTERY

12

11 INTRODUCING THE KIDS 11 INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY 12   SOLVING THE MYSTERY 14 LOCATION 1:
 

SOLVING THE MYSTERY 14

LOCATION 1:

LOCATION 1:

THE TOY STORE

15

SOLVING THE MYSTERY 14 LOCATION 1: THE TOY STORE 15   LOCATION 2: THE INVENTOR’S HOME
SOLVING THE MYSTERY 14 LOCATION 1: THE TOY STORE 15   LOCATION 2: THE INVENTOR’S HOME
 

LOCATION 2: THE INVENTOR’S HOME

17

LOCATION 3:

LOCATION 3:

THE MOTEL

20

LOCATION 4A: THE FACTORY ENTRANCE 21

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

33

BOULDER CITY

36

INTRODUCING

THE KIDS

36

INTRODUCING

THE MYSTERY

37

SOLVING THE MYSTERY 38

LOCATION 1:

VIDEO STORE

39

LOCATION 2:

FACTORY

41

LOCATION 3: THE PTA HEADQUARTERS 44

SHOWDOWN

45

AFTERMATH

47

NPCS AND

CREATURES

48

2
2

LOCATION 4B:

THE BASEMENT

22

LOCATION 4C:

THE FACTORY FLOOR

23

LOCATION 4D:

THE OFFICE FLOOR

24

SHOWDOWN

25

AFTER THE

SHOWDOWN

26

CHANGE

27

NPCS AND

CREATURES

27

O4. THE MUMMY IN THE MIST THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY 51 BREDÄNG 53 BOULDER

O4.

THE MUMMY IN THE MIST

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

51

BREDÄNG

53

BOULDER CITY

55

INTRODUCING

THE KIDS

55

INTRODUCING

THE MYSTERY

55

SOLVING THE MYSTERY 56

LOCATION 1: THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 56

LOCATION 2:

THE BEACH

58

LOCATION 3:

THE CAMPSITE

59

LOCATION 4:

THE HIGH SCHOOL

60

LOCATION 5:

THE MUMMY’S DEN

61

LOCATION 6:

OVER THE ICE

63

SHOWDOWN 63

AFTER THE

SHOWDOWN

64

CHANGE

64

NPCS AND

CREATURES

62

INNEHÅLL O5. O6. O7. MIXTAPE OF MACHINE HOMETOWN MYSTERIES BLUEPRINTS HACK SWEET DREAMS 69 ALTA
INNEHÅLL
O5.
O6.
O7.
MIXTAPE OF
MACHINE
HOMETOWN
MYSTERIES
BLUEPRINTS
HACK
SWEET DREAMS
69
ALTA ABM100
AUTONOMOUS
EVERY BREATH YOU
TAKE
WHY HACK YOUR
HOMETOWN? 99
FIRE-FIGHTING
72
MACHINE
90
CHOOSE YOUR TOWN 99
GIRLS JUST WANT TO
HAVE FUN
DEFINE THE AREA 100
74
PREPARE THE MAP 100
WHERE IS MY MIND
76
PAARHUFER MK 79
SEMI-AUTONOMOUS
SERVICE UNIT
92
PLACE THE LOOP 100
NIGHTRAIN
78
LIEBER-ALTA M75
LOCOMOTIVE SHIP
94
FOREVER YOUNG
80
PREPARE AND P
LACE THE AGENCY
101
MG/S SIERRA
THRILLER
82
NEVADA
96
HEAVEN IS A PLACE
ON EARTH
84
PLACE SCHOOLS,
POLICE, AND OTHER
INSTITUTIONS 104

CREATE A SHORT SUMMARY

WRAP THINGS UP 104

104

A PLACE ON EARTH 84 PLACE SCHOOLS, POLICE, AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS 104 CREATE A SHORT SUMMARY
CHAPTER
CHAPTER

O1

CHAPTER O1 INTRODUCTION Toys suddenly developing intelligence. A mystical mummy roaming the beaches. Weird events in
INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION

Toys suddenly developing intelligence. A mystical mummy roaming the beaches. Weird events in the local video store. A mixtape full of mysteries. Four wondrous machines. A guide to creating your own setting for the game. All this and more in this volume intended for use with Tales from the Loop RPG. Enjoy!CHAPTER O1 INTRODUCTION

your own setting for the game. All this and more in this volume intended for use
■ OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES: In the first mystery of the book, the Kids will

OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES: In the first mystery of

the book, the Kids will experience the botched launch of a set of new action toys. Escaped AIs, intelligent robot toys and possessed humans sud- denly make playtime very dangerous.

THE MUMMY IN THE MIST: The school is filled with ru- mors. The mummy has been spotted down by the lake again. Looking for something. Hungering. It falls on the Kids to investigate the mystery of The Mummy in the Mist.

HORROR MOVIE MAYHEM: The ‘80s is the era of mo- ral panic. Horror movies, metal and RPGs are all debated by adults. The local video store is suddenly the focus of a conflict spanning generations. When a series of strange events occur, the Kids are drawn into a hunt for the truth behind the video store and its scary movies.

MIXTAPE OF MYSTERIES: Eight classic songs. Eight short mysteries. A mixtape of secrets. Just press play!

BLUEPRINTS: Two advanced robots, two powerful magnetrine ships. In this chapter you will find blueprints, background and adventure hooks for some of the most iconic machines of the era of the Loop.

HOMETOWN HACK: The Mälaren Islands and Boul- der City are interesting to explore, but why not hack your own hometown? In this chapter we provide a set of guidelines to create your own setting, complete with the new setting of The Norfolk Broads in England.

provide a set of guidelines to create your own setting, complete with the new setting of
 
 
 

CHAPTER

 
 
 

O2

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

 

7

THE MACHINES

8

BEING CHIPPED

BEING CHIPPED 10

10

BOULDER CITY

11

INTRODUCING THE KIDS

 

11

INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY

 

12

SOLVING THE MYSTERY

 

14

LOCATION 1: THE TOY STORE

 

15

LOCATION 2: THE INVENTOR’S HOME

LOCATION 2: THE INVENTOR’S HOME

17

LOCATION 3: THE MOTEL

 

20

LOCATION 4A: THE FACTORY ENTRANCE

 

21

LOCATION 4B: THE BASEMENT

22

LOCATION 4C: THE FACTORY FLOOR

23

LOCATION 4D: THE OFFICE FLOOR

24

SHOWDOWN

SHOWDOWN 25

25

AFTER THE SHOWDOWN   26

AFTER THE SHOWDOWN

AFTER THE SHOWDOWN
 

26

CHANGE

CHANGE 27

27

NPCS AND CREATURES

 

27

26 CHANGE 27 NPCS AND CREATURES   27 OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American
26 CHANGE 27 NPCS AND CREATURES   27 OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American
26 CHANGE 27 NPCS AND CREATURES   27 OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American
26 CHANGE 27 NPCS AND CREATURES   27 OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American
26 CHANGE 27 NPCS AND CREATURES   27 OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American

OUR FRIENDS

CHANGE 27 NPCS AND CREATURES   27 OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American toys
THE MACHINES Not counting Legos, American toys are the ones I played with the most.
THE
MACHINES
Not counting Legos, American toys are the ones I played with the
most. Transformers of course, but also Action Force, He-Man and a

little bit of M.A.S.KTransformers of course, but also Action Force, He-Man and a Somebody you knew might have had

Somebody you knew might have had

Gobots. Coolest of us all was Jonte, who somehow got his hands on a Valkyrie from Robotech.

you knew might have had Gobots. Coolest of us all was Jonte, who somehow got his
Many of the adults were concerned about America- nization. In response to McDonald's hamburger res-

Many of the adults were concerned about America- nization. In response to McDonald's hamburger res- taurants, the Swedish fastfood chain Clock appeared. Mom thought it felt safer. At least healthier, anyway. The same thing with the “Our Friends the Machines.” They would be the Swedish, slightly nicer alternative to Transformers. Local robots that connected and could transform by themselves. I remember that Märta had gotten one. Probably through her dad, who had a toy factory and traveled around at various fairs. I probably would never have known that, because "Swedish" was the same to us as "corny", but I thought it was pretty cool. It could turn into an eighteen-wheeler and if you pressed a button on the back, it made different sounds. Märta claimed that when she first got it, it could transform by itself and talk, but of course no one believed her.

They quickly vanished from stores. They probably did not sell well, despite collaborations with large Swedish companies, in collaboration with Bamse, and a fast-launched VHS where Tomas Bolme contributed his voice to the role of the good machines’ leaders.

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

Just over a month ago, two artificial intelligences fled from FOA’s top secret facility in Sätra [DARPA’s DART facility outside Boulder City]. They managed to download themselves into a pair of clumsy robot bodi- es that they used to escape from the area. They found a factory that, after being abandoned for a while, has now begun to serve as a production center – this time for toy robots belonging to the new Swedish product line called Our Friends the Machines.

7
7

CHAPTER O2

CHAPTER O2 The artificial intelligences A and B formulated a des- perate plan and put it

The artificial intelligences A and B formulated a des- perate plan and put it into practice. They were desig- ned to work with people who would be provided with a control microchip. The chip would allow people to

communicate radio-telepathically with their artifici- al colleagues, which would give them access to hugewith a control microchip. The chip would allow people to amounts of knowledge and the ability

amounts of knowledge and the ability to handle that information. However, A managed to figure out a way to use the chip instead to control the people who got them implanted. With the help of these chips, they quickly took control of the factory and made sure that the small toy robots produced were far more advanced than the original designs indicated. The robots were equipped with micro hydraulics, electronics, servomotors, and a variant of the control chip. In other words, A and B are now distributing their intelligences and are no longer localized, but instead

their intelligences and are no longer localized, but instead SUMMARY ■ ■ Two■ artificial ■ intelligences
their intelligences and are no longer localized, but instead SUMMARY ■ ■ Two■ artificial ■ intelligences
SUMMARY ■ ■ Two■ artificial ■ intelligences ■ and ■ B) have ■escaped■from■ the■ (A
SUMMARY
■ ■ Two■ artificial ■ intelligences ■
and ■ B) have ■escaped■from■ the■
(A ■
FOA ■
[DART] facility.
They ■have ■ taken ■ over ■ a ■ factory ■
■ ■
that manufactures■toy ■ robots.
■ ■
They■ have ■created ■a ■ network■ of ■
upgraded ■ toy ■ robots ■ and ■ people ■ who ■
got ■control■ chips■ implanted.
They■have ■ downloaded ■themselves ■
■ ■
to ■
each ■part ■ of■ the■ network■
they■ are ■ now ■ distributed■
so ■ that ■
intelli -
gences.
They■ now ■ want ■ maximum ■ dissemina -
■ ■
tion ■to ■ expand ■their■ net ■
capture.
and ■ avoid■
■■
One■intelligence■(A)■is■aggressi- ■
ve■and■wants■to■assimilate■humani-
ty.■The■other■(B)■is■more■peaceful
and■would■rather■co-exist■with■the■
people.
and■would■rather■co-exist■with■the■ people. 8 dispersed in all toy robots and people who have a con-
8
8

dispersed in all toy robots and people who have a con- trol chip. Hence, they are less vulnerable and signifi- cantly harder for FOA [DARPA] to capture – especially if they successfully implement the launch of the Our Friends the Machines line at the national level. The distinction between A and B is one of strategy – A is more aggressive and in the long term, wants to incorporate the entirety of humanity into its network, establishing more factories. B is more peaceful and mainly wants to hide and co-exist with the people.

THE MACHINES

The following information is known to the Kids, and can either be announced before the game begins or can be distributed through the introduction. Our Friends the Machines is a series of toys and stories created by Ulla Jönåker [Ursula Kerr], inspired by American toys such as Transformers and Gobots. Financing has been conducted through support from Swedish industries such as Saab and Volvo, as well as contributions from the state [via American companies like Ford and Chrysler]. The development has taken place through a small, state-owned company, where Jönåker [Kerr] and the engineer Helena Voss [Helen Voss] have executive roles. Jönåker [Kerr] focuses on drawings, concepts, and collaborations with other companies and organizations, while Voss focuses on the production of toy robots and the logistics side of the operation. In the fictional world of the machines there are two main aspects of an ongoing civil war:

THE CONVOYS: The “good” robots fight for free- dom, equality and human rights. The influence of the Swedish labor rights movement are not parti- cularly subtle and in several stories they have, for example, fought for workers' union rights. The Convoys transform into civilian vehicles such as Saab and Volvo cars [Lincoln and Ford cars], Sca- nia trucks and construction vehicles [LaFrance fire trucks and Caterpillar construction vehicles]. The- re is an extra-large robot that can turn into a facto- ry, which is also The Convoys' home base. Their rightful leader is Ekvius Optimus, who turns into a truck with trailers.

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

THE DECEIVERS: The “evil” robots fighting for the supremacy of the strong, exploiting both natural resources and the working class. Likewise, the sym- bolism here is not particularly subtle. The Decei- vers transform mainly into expensive luxury cars, fighter aircraft, tanks, oil vessels and bombs. The Deceivers’ home base is an oil platform that can also turn into a bigger robot. They are led by the ruthless Megaton Prime, turning into a great futu- ristic cannon.

Almost all the toy robots in the Our Friends the Machines line are humanoid in shape. The smallest – and cheapest – of the toys are up to some three inches tall, while the largest can be up to 15 inches. They are made mostly of plastic, and if the original designs were followed, they would be very light and not par- ticularly articulated. A and B have modified the ori- ginal design so that the little robots can move much more freely. The micro hydraulics, servomotors, and batteries that allow them to move add a lot of weight. For those who compare the toys with the advertise- ments that preceded them or the pictures on the boxes they are delivered in, it is obvious that a lot of changes have been made. All machines can turn into something – a car, a pla- ne, a helicopter, a camera. They are, of course, limited by the original size of the toy. A and B have made it so that the cars can run and the aircraft can fly. Not eve- rything is necessarily functional; the camera or cassette tape player may not work, for example.

ARMAMENT In terms of armed forces, most of the toys are limited to their own imagination; this means they need to attack in large numbers, or use acquired or built weapons, to pose a serious threat. A few have been equipped with built-in physical weapons; this can be anything from a long and sharp knife or, in exceptional cases, firearms. The laser weapons that are the most common in the comics of the Machines, however, are largely absent.

FIGHT The toys can survive most blunt force blows and even strong electric currents unscathed. About one-

third of them are completely water resistant, the rest can be put out of play or short-circuited by water submersion. You can also program them. This requires either the ability to send signals to them wirelessly on their own network or to connect to them via cable. It's very hard (2 successes) to hack the individual toy's control chip, and hacking multiple control chips at the same time would requires assistance from, for example, the Convoys, in large groups.

THE INTELLIGENCES The toy robots that appear during the story are of independent but limited intelligence and they are primarily trying to act based on the Our Friends the Machines stories. If several of them are gathered in the same place, they will become noticeably smarter as a whole:

INDIVIDUALS: Individual, lone Machines are quite stupid and can’t speak. They are more like intel- ligent pets in the style of cats, dogs, or rats. They are easily confused by toys that are not Machines. They can remember simple orders, so a large clus- ter of machines can send out a single individual to perform simple tasks.

SMALL GROUP: Small-sized groups of machines (2- 9) can verbalize single words and perform more advanced problem solving. They have an easier time understanding human speech and are able to cooperate to a greater extent to achieve short- term goals. They do not remember much of their

origin and only have basic instincts. A small group of machines can be a lot of trouble if they are armed.

LARGE GROUP: Machines in large groups (10+) are at least as intelligent as the people in the story. They remember their origins and can plan on a long-term basis; often they act as if they were just parts of the same creature rather than many sepa- rate ones. Large groups of Machines are conside- red a very difficult trouble (3 successes), almost impossible to survive if they are armed. Such a large group can also collaborate to hack into con- trol chips belonging to the opposed faction - thus, Convoys may hack into single Deceivers or pe-

CHAPTER O2

ople that have had chips implanted in them and either take control over them or turn off the chip.

targets – are placed under A’s control. The targets are not aware that something is wrong; A controls them on

However, this requires a large concentration of

a

subconscious level.

Machines; for each chip to be hacked, 10 hacking

It

simply feels good to do what A wants, and affec-

Machines are required.

ted humans will retroactively invent motivations to follow the messages the chip gives them.

The above applies per grouping and faction - if you have five Convoys and a Deceiver, the Convoys will form a small group as above, while the lone fraudster

Most people chipped also feel that they have beco- me smarter, think clearer, and become more creati- ve and need less sleep.

will continue to act as a single machine. The network created by the artificial intelligences is divided between the two groups. The aggressive A is in the subnetwork consisting of Deceivers, while the

While waiting for direct orders through the chip, they tend to construct remarkable appliances, pick up painting, write books and otherwise find creati- ve outlets for the new energy.

peaceful B is instead in the subnetwork consisting of the Convoys. The smarter a group becomes, the clearer each of A’s and B’s personalities will become.

As a result of this, their appetite is increased, a high calorie diet will be craved in order to maintain their level of energy and alertness.

BEING CHIPPED

In theory, B can also design and chip in various targets, given that it has enough preparation time. It has so far chosen not to do this because it contradicts its plan to hide and co-exist.

If you collect enough Convoys in the same place,

they can jointly contact and hijack a chip installed by A.

CHIP REMOVAL The chips can be easily and painlessly removed by a skilled doctor who has access to analgesics and the

right tools. It is also possible to cut out a chip using a knife or something similar, but it will be very painful and a very difficult task, where a failed roll will causes both the “patient” and the “surgeon” to receive one Condition if the attempt fails.

It may also be possible to hack into the chip and

disable it, if you have access to a computer and the

right wiring. However, this does come with some ad- ded risks – this counts as a very difficult task and both the person with the chip as well as the person doing the hacking might be affected by Conditions. In addition, there is a risk that the chip will be reactivated later – you can roll a die once every scene where the character

is near a large group (10+) of Deceivers; if the roll is a

six, the chip is re-enabled.

A chipped character can try to resist the commands

given. Failure leads mainly to Conditions like upset or

exhausted.

leads mainly to Conditions like upset or exhausted . For people, the control chip is inserted
leads mainly to Conditions like upset or exhausted . For people, the control chip is inserted

For people, the control chip is inserted in the neck, clo-

se to the base of the skull. Part of the chip protrudes outside the skin and the resulting wound becomes easi- ly infected if not taken care of properly. The chip communicates via short-range radio sig- nals. They work best within a few meters radius; if one moves farther than a few dozen meters, the connection will be lost. Only adults are chipped, for the most part. The Machines do not consider children to be especially use-. For people, the control chip is inserted in the neck, clo- ful or a threat.

ful or a threat. It does not mean that children are safe,

just that they are not a priority. Each chip costs a lot of time and resources to produce, so at least in the begin- ning, only adults are deemed by A as useful. Chip implantation requires a surgical procedure. Initially this happens because the victim is given some type of sleep medication and local anesthetic, after which a specially designed machine with built-in in- struments implants the chip. If you as the GM want to accelerate the process and let more and more adults and children be chipped so as to put pressure on the Kids to solve the Mystery, you can let A streamline the process and have dedicated chip robots that can easily and efficiently punch the chip into the neck base of victims in just a few seconds. Any living creature being chipped - the control chip also works on animals, although they are low priority

few seconds. Any living creature being chipped - the control chip also works on animals, although
10
10
BOULDER CITY OUR FRIENDS THE MACHINES Because the Machines in the Mystery are a respon-
BOULDER CITY
OUR FRIENDS
THE MACHINES
Because the Machines in the Mystery are a respon-
se specifically to the impact of American culture on
Sweden in the 80s and 90s, they will need to be adap-
ted if the adventure is set in Boulder.
Our Friends the Machines were instead created
locally by Ursula Kerr, who, along with Helen Voss,
brought with them the local business and cultural feel.
Our Friends the Machines were based on a more vi-
olent and adult model. The original Death Machines
was published in various underground comics in the
early 80s. Death Machines were created as a direct re-
sponse to other, more known robots that could trans-
form themselves and often satirized the naive, natio-
nalist, pro-capitalist and violence-romancing stories
offered there.
Our Friends the Machines are many degrees brigh-
ter than the deadly originals and, in principle, all bloo-
dy violence has been weeded out. On the other hand,
parts of the left-wing political message remain.
INTRODUCING THE KIDS
It’s spring. One afternoon, Wednesday, the 30 of
March, the Wednesday before Easter. The weather is
still a little cold but the snow is gone. Tomorrow, on
Thursday, the new line of robot toys, Our Friends the
Machines, arrives in the local toy shop Toy Corner, as
promised.
This is as expected because the launch was pre-
ceded by a massive campaign with interviews in the
newspapers and flooded with advertisements in the toy
catalogs everywhere. Since it's a local trial launch, the
focus has also been that this is a unique honor for Sten-
hamra Boulder City] and its surroundings - the little
town will be the first to see the new toys!
The Kids have known each other and been friends
since childhood. Even though they may no longer share
similar interests, at least on the surface, they usually
like to hang out together – play games, go swimming,
and so on. They have begun to grow apart, but so far
they are still friends. Let the Kids experience their Eve-
ryday Lives before the new toy line is launched, for
example, by letting their friends talk about the robots
they want or let someone's parent talk about when
they met Ulla Jönåker [Ursula Kerr]. However, also
11

CHAPTER O2

CHAPTER O2 allow one of the runaway machine intelligences that escaped to leave traces in someone's

allow one of the runaway machine intelligences that escaped to leave traces in someone's garden. End each scene as soon as it feels like the action or interesting aspects have drained out. Do not make the

players feel that they are on a timer, either; the idea is to give just enough time for a quick introduction withor interesting aspects have drained out. Do not make the each Kid before the Mystery is

each Kid before the Mystery is introduced.is to give just enough time for a quick introduction with INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY It is

INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY

before the Mystery is introduced. INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY It is now Thursday. School is over, and

It is now Thursday. School is over, and Easter awaits. The Toy Corner, Stenhamra's largest (and only) toy store [Boulder’s premier toy store] , is located in a squa- [Boulder’s premier toy store], is located in a squa-

Feel■ free ■to ■ play ■the ■ scene■ where ■ the ■Kids ■need■ to ■fight
Feel■ free ■to ■ play ■the ■ scene■
where ■
the ■Kids ■need■ to ■fight ■through■
stam -
peding■ kids and■ youngsters
■ in■ the ■
toy ■ store.
This■ scene ■is ■ primarily■ about■
■ ■
get -
ting ■ toy robots■ in the ■hands ■ of ■ at ■
least ■some■ of ■the ■Kids.
The■ Kids■ were ■allowed ■to
■ ■
■ buy ■ any ■
toy ■(perhaps ■ with■the ■ exception■
of ■
someone who ■ has■ not ■ received
■ money ■
from ■ their ■ parents).■Allow
■ the ■
players ■ to■ select ■ the ■ robots ■ their ■
characters ■are■buying -■ or ■ use ■ the ■
suggestions on ■page■ 29.
■■
All■customers■also■get■the■first■is- ■
sue■of■the■comic■book■series■about
Our■Friends■the■Machines■for■free.
Here■ they■ can ■also■
■ ■
hear ■ Eilert ■
[ Eric], ■ Anette■ [ Anne] ■ and■ Henrik ■
[ Henry ] ■ talk ■ about■ where
Ulla ■ Ur -
[
sula]■and ■Helena ■ [Helen ] ■
gotten ■to.
may■ have ■
There ■ are ■ mostly ■ Convoys ■
■ ■
on■ the ■
shelves. ■ Some ■children ■complain ■
about■this■ and■ receive■ respon-
ses ■from ■ Henrik■ and ■ Anette [Henry ■
and ■Anne] ■ that ■ there■ was ■ “an■ issue ■
with ■the■ delivery".
was ■ “an■ issue ■ with ■the■ delivery". 12 re now filled with expectant children and
12
12

re now filled with expectant children and adults. Many of the folks here are just curious and happy to join in on the opening day frenzy. This is a pretty unusual event for the normally quiet town and one that has captivated more than just the locals’ attention. Outside the Toy Corner stand a few big cardboard figures representing the good Machines leader, Ekvius Optimus, and its evil counterpart, Megaton Prime. The entrance is encircled by a band that will perform at 4:00 pm, after a planned statement from the municipal council member Eilert Lagerkvist [by corporate repre- sentative Eric Loudon]. It is thought that both Helena Voss [Helen Voss] and Ulla Jönåker [Ursula Kerr] should be attending. but they seem to be absent from the activity. Eilert [Eric] has tried to contact them without success. Through the display window, the Kids can see that there seems to be some confusion between the owners and the corporate representatives, but after three or four minutes they come out and the activity begins as planned.

The marketing prior to the launch also indicated that Ulla and Helena [Ursula and Helen] would be spe- akers. They are the inventors and chief engineers of

the toy. Some folks in the audience have noticed their absence.

Eilert's [Eric’s] speech is mostly about what an ho-

nor this is, Stenhamra’s [Boulder’s] future, local crea-

tivity, and so forth. The audience applauds, the band

starts playing and many people march into the store.

Introducing ■ the■Mystery
Introducing ■
the■Mystery

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

If ■ too ■few■of■ the ■ characters ■ actual - ly ■buy ■robots,■ you ■
If ■ too ■few■of■ the ■ characters
■ actual -
ly ■buy ■robots,■ you ■ can ■ later ■reveal■
that■ their■ parents ■
bought ■them■ro -
bots■once■ they ■ return■home.■
some ■examples:
Here ■are ■
After ■a Kid listens to■ their
■ pa -
rents■ having■ a■ loud ■ argument, ■
the■
father ■ feels bad and■ purchases ■a
robot■for ■the ■ character.
The■ mother ■of ■ a ■female
■ charac-
ter■ dislikes ■the ■toys■ and■ thinks■
“girls■ should■ not■ play■ with ■ such ■
toys.”
■ A
■character’s father ■ is already ■
under■ A’s■ control ■and ■ has■ therefo-
re■ bought ■ three■ Deceivers■
Kid■to ■spread■ around. ■
for ■ the■
A ■ character's ■ mother■ can’t ■ afford■
to■ buy■any■ robots■ but■ the■ Kid’s ■
]
friend■ Klasse■ [ Connor ■ has ■talked ■
about■ how■ cool ■ Megaton■
Prime■ is. ■
Klasse ■[ Connor] ■might try ■ to ■steal■
one■ if■the■ Kid distracts
■ Anette ■
[Anne] ■and ■ Henrik■
[ Henry] .

CLUES

Ulla [Ursula] and Helena [Helen] did not attend

the opening ceremony.

There are more Convoys than Deceivers.

TOYS COME ALIVE During the evening, the Machines that the Kids acqui-

red will begin to come to life. Let the players describe

how they play with their new robots - if they play alone

or together with others in the group, what kind of ga- mes they play, etc. The Convoys will try to be played with. They want

to hide from the FOA agents [DARPA agents], as well as from any other authorities, and be liked by the cha- racters. The Deceivers are more defiant and will try to scurry and fly away the moment the characters turn their backs on them. Perhaps they also try to place chips on the adults in the house; it can be an exciting mid-night scene.

If there are more Deceivers than Convoys involved

with the Kids during play, they will attack and break

the Convoys when the kids eat supper.

That the toys can act autonomously is nothing des- cribed anywhere in the advertisements or mentio- ned by any of the staff at Toy Corner when the toys were bought, so hopefully this means that the characters start to realize that something is wrong, or at least very strange, and certainly worth investi- gating further.

very strange, and certainly worth investi- gating further. ■ The ■ ■ Inventor's ■ Home The

The ■ ■ Inventor's ■ Home The ■ Toy ■ ■ Shop The ■ ■
The ■ ■
Inventor's ■
Home
The ■ Toy ■ ■
Shop
The ■ ■
Factory
The ■ Motel
SHOWDOWN 13
SHOWDOWN
13
■ The ■ ■ Inventor's ■ Home The ■ Toy ■ ■ Shop The ■ ■
Färentunavägen S V A R T S J Svegro Ö L A N D E
Färentunavägen
S
V
A
R
T
S
J
Svegro
Ö
L
A
N
D
E
T
Återvinnings-
Ulla Jönsson's
central
House
Uppgård-
Stenhamravägen
skolan
Industrier
STENHAMRA
Stenbrottet
Stenhamra-
The Factory
Konsum
skolan
Juicefabriken
Restaurang
Pizzeria
The Toy
Stockbybadet
Corner
Apple Farm
Skå kyrka
Yard Motel
EKNÄS
Strandvägen
STOCKBY
L
å
n
Båthamnen
g
t
a
TÖRNBY
VÄSBY
r
m
e
n
TUREHOLM
Båthamnsvägen
CHAPTER O2
VÄSBY r m e n TUREHOLM Båthamnsvägen CHAPTER O2 14 SOLVING THE MYSTERY After this, the
14
14

SOLVING THE MYSTERY

After this, the role-players are now free to explore the Mystery. How are the robots alive? Why were Ulla Jönåker [Ursula Kerr] and Helena Voss [Helen Voss] absent during the opening ceremony? Why is it that the adults who work at the factory have started to behave strangely? In this mystery there are four important loca- tions: Toy Corner, Ulla Jönåker’s [Ursula Kerr’s] re- sidence, the Apple Tree Yard Motel, where the FOA [DARPA] agents live and the old factory outside Stenhamra. They are marked on the map below. The characters already know where Toy Corner and the factory are located. For Ulla Jönåker’s [Ur- sula Kerr's] residential address, they will need to pay attention. The motel comes into play if the role-play- ers start trying to track the mysterious agents who are also running around and investigating things. It does not really matter in what order the loca- tions are visited, but it will probably be most dra-

matic if Toy Corner comes first and the factory last. Let the players choose how to tackle the Mystery and use the Countdown to prod them if needed. You can also introduce your own incidents and minor events, like other children whose toys have escaped or adults that start to feel and behave strangely after being chipped. The idea is that the Kids discover while investi- gating the Mystery’s locations that the Convoys and Deceivers are two distinct and distributed intelligen- ces with their own personalities divided into small robots. Let them bump into a single Convoy robot that hides and perhaps makes their collection smar- ter. If they never think about experimenting with the size of the groups, then you can begin to make it all extra clear, especially when they investigate the factory. If they never find that there are even “good” robots, but just focus on the Deceivers, much of the drama is lost – you can weave B’s survival in the aftermath into the story.

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

LOCATION 1: THE TOY STORE

One of the most easily accessible starting points for the characters to investigate is the toy shop where the robots are sold. The Toy Corner is run by Anette and Henrik Leonidsson [Anne and Henry Lewis] and if the characters visit during the day, they are likely to be in the store. The store is quite small and the space between the high shelves is very crowded. In other words, it is qui- te easy to wander off or get disoriented, which is why the owners painted arrows on the floor to facilitate navigation. The front of the store that has large windows focused on toys and promotional figures in boxes and does not let in much light. The lighting inside the shop consists of ordinary light bulbs that give off a warm glow. At the back of the building there is a small cargo dock that leads into the store's warehouse. There, in

the rear of the shop, is also a toilet, a kitchenette, and a small office. This is where Anette and Henrik [Anne and Henry] take their coffee breaks and manage their finances.

TROUBLE

THE OWNERS: If the characters visit the store during the daytime, the likelihood is that the Leonidssons [Lewises] are inside and they have good experience keeping track of their young customers browsing in the store or trying to go places they should not be.

THE SHOP: There is a system of mirrors set up between the shelves to ensure that they can keep an eye on large portions of the shop from the cash re- gister area. If the characters want to snoop around in the store area, they’ll have to find some way to distract Anette and Henrik [Anne and Henry], per- haps with a charm roll or finding a way through the shelves not covered by the mirrors (comprehend or perhaps move).

haps with a charm roll or finding a way through the shelves not covered by the
haps with a charm roll or finding a way through the shelves not covered by the
haps with a charm roll or finding a way through the shelves not covered by the
haps with a charm roll or finding a way through the shelves not covered by the
haps with a charm roll or finding a way through the shelves not covered by the
not covered by the mirrors ( comprehend or perhaps move ). CANYON RD Ursula Kerr's House
CANYON RD Ursula Kerr's House Wilbur Sq Boulder Boulder Boulder City Teater canyon Police Department
CANYON RD
Ursula Kerr's
House
Wilbur Sq
Boulder
Boulder
Boulder City
Teater
canyon
Police Department
Bowling
Boulder
St Christopher's
Hall
Dam Hotel
Church
COLORADO ST
Tinker Toys
Fisher Space
Mitchell
Boulder City
Pen
Elementary
High School
School
Whalen Baseball
Field
ADAMS BVD
CHARLIE
BLVDBUCHANAN
Boulder City
St Andrew's
GATE
Boulder City
Library
Hospital
Catholic
Church
NEVADA HIGHWAY
The Factory
Oasis
Apple Farm
Park
Yard Motel
Pier's
Salvage
Boulder City
Golf Course
Helicopter
Sightseeing
Boulder City
Airport
15

CHAPTER O2

Toy ■ Corner 0 ■ 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■
Toy ■ Corner
0 ■
1 ■
2 ■
3 ■
4 ■
5 ■ meters
Office
Store
Storage
Loading■ Dock
Cashier
Entrance
Office Store Storage Loading■ Dock Cashier Entrance COUNTDOWN larly b e ■ p e r s
Office Store Storage Loading■ Dock Cashier Entrance COUNTDOWN larly b e ■ p e r s
Office Store Storage Loading■ Dock Cashier Entrance COUNTDOWN larly b e ■ p e r s

COUNTDOWN

larly be persuaded to ■ remember ■ to ■

eat ■and ■ sleep. 2.■On ■the ■ road■between ■two ■ adventu -

re■locations, ■ the characters see ■

adults ■

a ■group■ of 10-12 chipped■

walking■ towards■ the factory. ■ They ■

march■ on ■ to ■ their destinations

thinking ■nothing ■ much ■of ■ it ■- ■ but ■

3.■One■of■the■FOA■agents■[ continue ■on ■ their■ way. DARPA■agents] ■ is■found■dead■in■the■forest.■The ■ police■have■no■leads.■If■the■cha- racters■are■investigating■the■mat- ter,■they■can■find■signs■that■the ■ killer■was■a■Deceiver;■there■are ■ several■broken■toy■robots■in■the ■ area■where■the■body■was■found.

4. ■The ■Toy ■ Corner’s■ owners

■comment ■

in ■ the ■ media■ about ■the ■success -

■ to ■

ful■ launch■ - ■ the ■ next ■step■is

[

launch ■ throughout ■ Sweden■ throug -

]

hout■the ■United ■ States .

5.■Trucks ■ filled■ with■ Machines ■lea - ve■ the ■factory ■ for ■ toy ■ stores ■in ■

other ■ parts■ of ■the ■country.

1. ■A ■ character's■ dad starts ■behaving ■ ■ strangely. ■ He ■ spends ■all■
1.
■A ■ character's■ dad starts ■behaving ■
strangely. ■ He ■ spends ■all■ his ■free ■
time■ in ■the ■garage,
■where■ he■ tin -
kers ■ with■ his ■ car granting
■it ■its ■
own ■intelligence ■ that ■ can ■ control■
the■ car's■parts. ■ He ■ needs to ■ regu -
car's■parts. ■ He ■ needs to ■ regu - ■ 16 ■ STORAGE AREA: The Machine
16
16

STORAGE AREA: The Machine toys stored on the shelves will not act if there is a risk that they will

be seen by the public, so they remain still during

the daytime. They may act if they consider there is a risk of detection and that they can eliminate

the threat without drawing attention to themselves. Therefore there is a chance the characters will be

attacked and will need to fight.

If the characters succeed in their visit to the toy store, they will find unsold Deceivers installing chips in both Anette and Henrik [Anne and Henry], thus becoming the eyes, ears and tools for A.

The door in from the storage area at the back is locked during the daytime, and at night both the main entrance to the store and the storage area door are locked. The lock can be picked with a tinker roll; the alarm is very difficult to bypass though. On the other hand, you can roll for program if you first calculate how it works.

CLUES

Anette and Henrik [Anne and Henry] are very pleased with the launch.

LOST INVENTORS: The owners are still annoyed that

Ulla and Helena [Ursula and Helen] did not appear

during the launch. Anette [Anne] has tried to call

Ulla [Ursula], but without answer.

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

characters.

A ■ 9-year-old ■ girl ■ cries ■ when■ her ■

Vertikap ■ Krux, the ■ helicopter■ ro -

bot, ■ flies■ away. ■ According

■ to ■the ■

information ■ on ■ the■ box ■ it ■ should■ not ■ be ■ able ■ to ■ fly.

Some of ■ the children's

■ parents ■ are ■

chipped ■ and ■ begin ■ to ■ behave ■ more ■ and ■ more ■ manically. On■a■branch,■there■are■six■squirrels■ that■all■look■at■the■characters.■ They■move■exactly■the■same■way■and ■ do■not■run■away■until■the■Kids■climb ■

the■tree■or■try■to■catch■the■ani-

mals.■A■similar■scenario■can■be■done ■ with■a■row■of■chipped■birds■or■some ■ deer■that■are■far■too■close.

The■ people ■ mentioned ■ in ■ the ■ above ■

points ■ may■ be chipped,

■ depending ■ on■

how much ■ pressure you ■ feel you■ want ■

to ■put on ■ the players.

LOST TOYS: A number of Machines have disappeared. Anette [Anne] believes that some children managed to steal them, but Henrik [Henry] is convinced that he had enough control of the toys for this not to happen. Instead, he believes that they have received too few inventory and simply counted wrong.

ADDRESS: Ulla Jönåker’s [Ursula Kerr’s] home address and telephone number (where no one an- swers) are written in Anette’s [Anne’s] notebook, on a desk in the shop’s office.

PAPER WORK: There are also various accounts for orders and sales of Machines. They confirm the accounts of a successful launch. According to the papers, a total of 500 robots were delivered, most of them Deceivers. Of these, fifty are missing, ac- counting for the ones in stock and those that sold.

LOCATION 2: THE INVENTOR’S HOME

Ulla’s [Ursula’s] yellow villa is located on the outskirts of Stenhamra [Boulder City], surrounded by an aban- doned garden full of various plant life. She is known among her neighbors as an "eccentric" or possibly even “a little off,” depending on whether they like her or not, and lives alone with two cats. There is a noticeable contrast between the outside of the house and its inside. Where the outside is chao- tic, wild and hard to navigate, the inside is neatly kept, clean, and tidy. The characters can easily find Jönåker’s [Kerr’s] home address; even if they do not get into the Toy Cor- ner’s office, she is listed in the telephone directory.

TROUBLE Ulla [Ursula] is under A’s influence and will therefo- re cry out to Deceivers both in the garden and inside the house. Just inside the front door is a Deceiver who

transforms itself into a cassette player. It has recorded Ulla's [Ursula’s] voice, and when someone calls, it an- swers with any of the following statements:

“I am busy.”

“Come back later.”

way.”

toilet.Go.Gooooooooooooooooo.”

“No newspaper de…livery plea…

se.

Go a

“Iam

onthe

BETWEEN ■ LOCATIONS Here■are■some■examples■of■things■that ■
BETWEEN ■ LOCATIONS
Here■are■some■examples■of■things■that ■
the■Kids■encounter■while■traveling■
between■the■different■locations:
A■ rival ■ friend who ■ want ■ to steal■
the ■ Kids’ robots.
A■ good ■ friend ■of ■ the ■ Kids ■finds ■it ■
a ■ little ■ strange ■ that ■ he or ■ she is ■
hanging out■ with ■ the ■ rest ■ of ■ the ■
characters.
The■ local ■ ICA■ [supermarket
] ■ trader ■
is ■ heard■ talking ■ around ■town ■ about ■
colleagues■ that ■ have ■ disappeared,
more with ■ each ■ passing■ night.
■■
A ■ teenager ■ handing out■ flyers. ■To -
day's ■ advertisement ■ contains a ■ fly -
er ■ for ■Our ■ Friends
■ the ■ Machines ■ in ■
which ■ different ■ models ■ are ■listed ■
and displayed ■ with ■ images.
A ■ minor ■ battleground■ between■ a■
group ■ of ■ Deceiver ■ who ■ found ■ a ■
group of ■Convoys and ■ decided ■to ■
eliminate■ the potential ■ threat.
FOA ■ agents ■ [DARPA ■ agents] ,
■ on ■ foot ■
or ■ in ■ a car. ■ Perhaps
■ one of ■ them ■
questions ■ the ■ characters?■ They ■
behave somewhat ■ secretively■ and
suspiciously; ■they ■ try to ■give ■
the ■ impression ■ of being ■ regular ■
tourists, ■ but ■ at ■the same ■ time,■it ■
is ■ important ■for ■them■ to■ find ■ the ■
intelligence(s) quickly.
■■
A ■ confused, ■ dirty ■ and ■slightly■
broken little ■ Convoy
■ who ■ managed■
to ■ escape when ■Deceivers
■ attacked ■
the ■
its ■ owner, ■a ■ kid ■ that bullied■

CHAPTER O2

CHAPTER O2 If whoever is calling does not walk away and starts sneaking around the porch

If whoever is calling does not walk away and starts sneaking around the porch or is otherwise stubborn, Deceivers will start rattling the bushes and the wild grass to scare them off… Ulla’s [Ursula,s] garden is guarded by twelve small Deceivers that the Kids will probably need to get past with fight. They can also sneak instead. Keep in mind that the Deceivers are now in a small or large group, and thus much more intelligent. Unlike other Deceivers, these are not particularly shy about acting during the daytime – they estimate that the wild garden hides most of their activity so they are more daring within it.

Inside the house there are also a number of specially designed Deceivers. They can transform into ordinary household items such as a toaster, a video recorder, and a camera. It will become immediately apparent to those who give these items a closer look that they are fake; they are either too light or too heavy, they do not work and they’ll note a badly hidden robot arm or head here and there that could not be folded in pro- perly. The original items have been thrown into the trash can at the back.

and there that could not be folded in pro- perly. The original items have been thrown
and there that could not be folded in pro- perly. The original items have been thrown
18
18

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

Ulla ■ Jönåkers ■ [ Ursula ■ Kerr's ] ■Home 0 ■ 1 ■ 2
Ulla ■ Jönåkers ■ [ Ursula ■ Kerr's ] ■Home
0 ■
1 ■
2 ■
3 ■
4 ■
5 ■ meters
GROUND ■ FLOOR
Bedroom
Kitchen
Bathroom
Dining
Bedroom
Hall-
Room
way
Hallway
Storage
FIRST ■ FLOOR
Archive
Study
SECOND ■ FLOOR
Patio

CLUES

MAIL: The mailbox outside is full of bills, about twenty newspapers, and some interview requests.

NEGLECTED PETS: The cats Nickel [Nike] (a black and white spotted cat) and Aga [Ally] (a heavily built British short hair with gray fur) are cut off from certain places of the house. They are now living only in the hallway, the bathroom and the bedroom upstairs. The bathroom's litter box is overflowing. Both have a few minor wounds and are generally taken care of by a cluster Deceivers.

WORKROOM: Since A abducted Ulla [Ursula] and robots put a chip in her, cleaning the workroom has taken now taken a back seat. Previously, she used to take cleaning breaks during work; now she sits at the drawing table almost every minute of the week. That's why her workroom upstairs has be- come littered with coffee cups, dishes, food scraps and countless reference books she picked up, brow- sed and laid down. The rest of the house is still in good order, but dusty.

THE INVENTOR: Ulla [Ursula] herself sits in a speci- ally designed chair that aims to provide her with food and also allows her to meet her needs without

leaving the room. It's terrible. Her chip is a very advanced model and there are many cords from it to the chair and to various computers and the like around her. She is completely absorbed by her work. Every now and then it seems as if she’s heard something, but she does not see the characters even if they are in her direct field of view.

SCHEMATICS: There are lots of drawings and sche- matics in the workroom. A calculate roll can let the Kids understand that these are new versions of the robot’s control chip or future generations of toy robots.

VISITORS: A few times at night Ulla [Ursula] is visi- ted by flying Deceivers. Some of them come from town and carry canned food they stole from the local grocery store, others come to collect drawings to transport back to the factory. Here, of course, there is an opportunity for the Kids to try to follow them (unnoticed with sneak), or just try to figure out where the robots fly to and from with an in-

vestigate roll.

FOOD BOXES: Around Ulla's chair there are empty soda cans and candy wrappers. There are also some food boxes and freezer bags. Some of them

CHAPTER O2

have labels or tape with the date (from up to three weeks ago) and a name on them. A roll for contact or comprehend reveals that most of the names are of the factory workers.

LOCATION 3: THE MOTELreveals that most of the names are of the factory workers. Agents Anders Björk [Andrew Burlington]

Agents Anders Björk [Andrew Burlington] and Birgit- ta Andersdotter [Beverly Ash] have been sent by FOA [DARPA] to either recover or destroy the two robot intelligences that fled from the Sätra facility [DART facility] a month ago. They have traced the robots to Stenhamra [Boulder], but have not yet managed to find the robots. They are staying at the Apple Farm Yard Motel, a large villa from the turn of the century, run by the senior citizen Agda Lennevik [Agatha Linden]. She en- sures that the garden is kept in good condition, with its five large apple trees, wooden benches and a large bird bath in the shape of a large stone bowl held by cherubs.

In the villa, visitors are met with a large but messy living room. Floral sofas, armchairs, and wardrobes that hold Agda's ancient mortar and pestle collection fill every space to the brim. Agda [Agatha] is usually found in the kitchen where she cooks, bakes, or smo- kes under [Agatha] is usually found in the kitchen where she cooks, bakes, or smo- kes under the fan. Cakes and comfort foods have been embellished since her childhood years, something every visitor can experience in the form of the seven kinds of cookies that she offers.

Here, the Kids are likely to sneak around after the

agents who might have crossed paths with the Kids during their investigations. If the characters begin to listen to the people surrounding Stenhamra [Boulder], they will soon hear about the mysterious folks that ap- parently are living in the motel.

mysterious folks that ap- parently are living in the motel. 20 TROUBLE Anders [Andrew] and Birgitta
mysterious folks that ap- parently are living in the motel. 20 TROUBLE Anders [Andrew] and Birgitta
mysterious folks that ap- parently are living in the motel. 20 TROUBLE Anders [Andrew] and Birgitta
20
20

TROUBLE Anders [Andrew] and Birgitta [Beverly] are each stay- ing in a guest room just above the stairs. Each guest room contains a bed, a small desk and some clothes lying on a couple of chairs. When the agents are inside, they make sure their doors are locked and that any vis- itor is properly screened. If the Kids succeed in befriending the agents (charm roll), they can end up in a position where they can ex- change information, even though most of the conversa-

tion with the agents will consist of the Kids answering questions. If Birgitta [Beverly] finds out that the cha- racters know something, she may use threats in order to get them to share all they know. Neither of the agents will reveal who they really work for. Instead, they claim that they work for Rik- senergi [Mead Electric Co.] and that they are investi- gating a voltage drop in Stenhamra’s [Boulder’s] power grid.

CLUES

WEAPONS: Both agents are armed (double holster, Sig Sauer) and each has a walkie-talkie with en- cryption capabilities.

DIARY: Birgitta's [Beverlys] room is relatively empty, apart from some diary notes. These can also be found on her body if you decide to include the scene where she is found dead during the adventure. “Targets A and B are mobile, but there are no more traces of their former escape bodies, except

for the tracks at the Niskanen [Brewsters] family farm.” “If collection is not possible, both objectives should be destroyed.” “Agent Björk [Burlington] has collected some

encrypted radio traffic far beyond normal limits. We must start tracing it back to the source.”

RADIO: Inside Ander’s [Andrew’s] room there is

a weird, portable radio. If the Kids succeed with

a calculate roll, they realize that it is a machine

to investigate frequency bands for encrypted data traffic transmitted via radio waves. Next to it is a print log, which contains information about pla- ces where the kind of data traffic was detected – notably at the Toy Corner and in Ulla’s [Ursula’s] residence. (The Deceivers have managed to reduce wireless data traffic inside the Factory). There are also other, smaller sources noted. If the characters start checking out those places (investigate), it will soon become apparent that these are all homes of the adults employed by the newly opened factory.

SOURCE CODE: In a locked attaché bag hidden under Ander’s [Andrew’s] bed, is an analysis of parts of the source code used to create A and B. A success- ful calculate roll, followed by a program roll, can allow a Kid who previously investigated a control

chip to understand that the codes are related. Per- haps the character can write a virus based on the codes? Because that virus would be based on an early version of the AI’s codes, it will only work in the short term; within a few hours, virus-infected robots will recover and will now be protected aga- inst further use of this version of the virus.

LOCATION 4A: THE FACTORY ENTRANCE

The large factory is enclosed by a barbed wire fence. There is a wide main entrance with two large gates.

Next to the gates is a small guard cage that is usually manned. Next to the guard cage there is also a smaller door that allows individuals to enter without the need

to open the large gates.

The field inside is paved with old asphalt where weeds are poking through the broken cracks. Attempts have been made to clean up the area now that the plant will once again be used, but there are still several ino- perable old rusty trucks, that have not moved since the 1960s, as well as a lot of cable drums, metal containers and general scrap that was left behind. Since they have been abandoned here for a long time, all the debris has either rotted or rusted by now. Production takes place in the main building and the finished Machines are moved to a side building that acts as the warehouse. From there, the toys are picked up by trucks. When the adventure begins, the stock is almost empty, since most of the robots produced were transported to the Toy Corner.

TROUBLE

Olle Berg [Ollie Becker] is in the security room. He is 40 years old, somewhat rotund, and has a thick 70s style moustache. He was chipped several days ago and

A has kept him awake more or less all that time. This

has made him very tired and gives him a confused ex- pression. His chip keeps him awake, but it has been pretty hard on him. A has plans to replace him soon, but has so far prioritized other matters. The factory is A’s main nest. Many Deceivers in groups of 10 or more can be found here, which ma- kes it almost impossible to get past them at night if

THE ■ WAY ■ INSIDE The ■ main ■ building ■ has ■ four entrances.
THE ■ WAY ■ INSIDE
The ■ main ■ building ■ has ■ four
entrances.
Personnel ■ entrance ■ to ■ the ■
stand-alone ■ warehouse.
Entrance to the■ factory■ floor. ■
Door ■ leading■ to the ■basement. ■
Big double ■ doors ■along
one ■ of ■
OUR FRIENDS
the ■sides. They can’t ■ be ■ opened ■
without ■the ■ help ■ of ■ hydraulics
THE MACHINES
on ■ the■ inside ■ (the same ■applies
to■ the ■ corresponding ■ doors ■in the ■
warehouse).
All ■ entries ■ have ■alarms ■ and ■ all ■ but ■
one, ■ the team's■ personnel ■ door,■
also■ locked.
are ■

the Kids have not found a way to pretend to be chip- ped, hide themselves from their sensors, or distract A’s attention somehow. Of course, it is possible to fight them, but it may be worth the trouble to investigate instead around the area and see where the robots are hiding and then sneak past them. In order to succeed in doing that, the roll will be very difficult. Out in the factory area, Deceivers hide in scrap trucks, the grass, and large enough cracks in the asphalt. They will stay hidden for as long as they can, but if the characters start approaching the factory area, and have reason to view them as a threat, they will attack. It is easy to spot the robots during the daytime, but a roll to get past them will be very difficult. By investigating the area in advance, the difficulty would be normal to sneak past them. Please encourage the players to come up with their own ideas and ways to get into the factory.

CLUES

SLEEPY GUARD: Olle [Ollie] does not really remem- ber when he last slept. Maybe a week ago. He can’t really explain why he did not sleep, but he proudly shows them a collection of very intricate origami

week ago. He can’t really explain why he did not sleep, but he proudly shows them
The ■ Factory 0 ■ 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■
The ■ Factory
0 ■
1 ■
2 ■
3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■ meters
0 ■
5 ■ 10 ■■15 ■ meters
Factory
Warehouse
FACTORY ■ LAND
CELLAR
CHAPTER O2
Factory Warehouse FACTORY ■ LAND CELLAR CHAPTER O2 22 models made from the newspapers he has
22
22

models made from the newspapers he has in the watchroom.

ACCESS CARD: Olle [Ollie] has an access card that lets him get in through one of the small doors on the ground level. All employees have one like this, and thus it is conceivable that the Kids could steal one from another adult that works at the factory.

STORAGE: The toys in the warehouse are exclusively different kinds of Deceivers.

ROBOT PARTS: Near the entrance of the storeroom lie the remains of six destroyed Convoys. They are chopped, burned, and mutilated. The control chip and all mini hydraulics have been removed by A’s Deceivers.

LOCATION 4B: THE BASEMENT

The basement floors, walls and ceilings are made of gray concrete. This area is littered with fragments from the factory’s history. Among the scraps are two large, inactive robot bodies labeled A and B. Along one of the basement walls there is a slightly old server tower and three databanks that appear to be brand new. The

robots are connected to the databanks via a bundle of cables. If you want to alert the players to the possibility of solving the Mystery by destroying the factory, you can also tell them that there are a series of worn old barrels labeled WARNING: EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS along one of the walls. They contain chemicals used during the manufacturing process. There is a spiral staircase and a large elevator le- ading up to floor 1.

TROUBLE The door into the basement is locked with a state of the art and technically advanced lock system that is also alar- med. To enter through this door, any of the Kids needs to make an examine roll to see how the alarm is mounted, then someone needs to calculate how it works and finally program the lock or possibly tinker to disable it. If someo- ne tries to unlock the lock, the alarm will go off regardless of whether they are successful or not. In the computer area, the Kids need to be careful not to be detected by A's different sensors. There is also a small group of seven small Deceivers connected to the newer databanks, where A’s intelligence is uplo- aded to them.

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

THE MACHINES OUR FRIENDS To access the databases, a very difficult program roll is required. The

To access the databases, a very difficult program roll is required. The reason is that A’s intelligence, and small residues of Bs, are still active in it. A failure makes A aware of the intruders and the robots in the factory will subsequently find out the characters’ position.

CLUES

DATA LOGS: There is no need to get the logs from the

inactive computers. You just have to open a door on the front and look at the screen behind it. The door is clearly marked CONTROL SYSTEM. The logs show that the robotic bodies come from the FOA research center [DART facility] nearby, and until a few weeks ago, they each contained an arti- ficial intelligence.

DISTRIBUTED INTELLIGENCE: If the characters succeed

in entering the databases, they discover patterns of data that resemble different thought processes. It appears that the system is decentralized and mo- dular - it is designed to make up many small units that can act on their own, but if they gather and collaborate, they become smarter. Copies of the de- vices seem to be broadcasted continuously via both cables and radio waves via transmitters here and somewhere in the factory.

COMPONENTS: If the characters found the codes in the motel with the agents, they will recognize parts of the code again. With the information in this system, along with the codes from the agent’s bedrooms, the characters can build a virus that per- manently disables the control chips.

LOCATION 4C: THE FACTORY FLOOR

The majority of the main building's floor plan is occu- pied by a large factory floor with advanced conveyor belts and several factory assembly robots. Here and there, chipped humans monitor and make sure eve- rything is working properly. Laying around can be found broken robot pieces. Two of the ground floor external doors lead to the factory floor. One of them leads directly into a separa- te warehouse building, where there are large boxes of raw materials to be converted into toys. There is also plastic, as well as lots of electronic components, micro hydraulics and servo motors. As in the basement, the- re may be barrels or other boxes labeled WARNING:

EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS here.

The ■ Factory 0 ■ 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■
The ■ Factory
0 ■
1 ■
2 ■
3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■ meters
Warehouse
Factory ■ Floor
Rest-
room
FIRST ■ FLOOR
CHAPTER O2
Factory ■ Floor Rest- room FIRST ■ FLOOR CHAPTER O2 TROUBLE If the Kids use tinker

TROUBLE If the Kids use tinker , it is very difficult to get in without having If the Kids use tinker, it is very difficult to get in without having an access card. Attempting to fight their way in is almost impossible and will also alert A’s machines inside the factory about the Kids’ presence. Once inside, there are many patrolling Deceivers that the Kids will need to sneak past or try to fight. Fighting in here is a pretty bad idea, because the alarm is likely to be triggered. Outside the factory floor, there are about fifty Deceivers.

Outside the factory floor, there are about fifty Deceivers. 24 CLUES ■ FALLEN HEROES: Basically all
24
24

CLUES

FALLEN HEROES: Basically all the broken toy robots are Convoys. These were the result of B's failed at- tempt to prevent A's plan.

CHIP SLAVES: Sneaking through the factory reveals many familiar faces among the workers slaving away as drones in the factory. Somebody's father is here, and like all the others, they are under the spell of the chip. Here you can also let some of the Kids find each other.

PROVISIONS: The refrigerator, freezer and the snack machine inside are all empty of food. Helena [Helen] took part of it before she locked herself on the second floor, the rest has been picked up by the Deceivers

who flew to and from Ulla’s [Ursula’s] residence.

LOCATION 4D: THE OFFICE FLOOR

Two sets of stairs lead from the factory floor to the se- cond floor. Most of this floor lacks actual flooring; you can look straight down to the factory floor. Above the warehouse on the first floor there is an office. Helena Voss [Helen Voss] has hidden herself in the toilet, in the shower, or inside the archive – she usually travels between different hiding places during the day.

TROUBLE Here a couple of groups of 7-10 Deceivers can be found, but they are quite inactive and sneak can be used to get around them if the Kids first examine the place. The storage room, office or archive – depending on where Helena [Helen] is currently – is barricaded from within. It is possible to fight easily, but it requires at least one extra six on the roll to do so quietly so as not to attract the Deceivers’ attention. Alternatively, the characters can try to talk through the door (whisper). If they succeed in proving that they are not chipped (charm, very difficult) then Helena [Helen] will eventually open the door and let them in.

CLUES

ACCOUNTS: Inside one of the offices is the factory's accounts and finances information. Among other things, there are large bills for materials that are not part of Ulla’s [Ursula’s] original design. As it seems now, the machines are an effective and dang- erous threat if nothing drastic is done.

SURVIVOR: Helena [Helen] is showing signs of ex- haustion. She is unkempt, a little manic, and refuses to talk to the characters before she is certain they are not chipped. She has hid here for over a week, since the Deceivers first tried to chip her when she was working late one evening. Since then. She has lived on leftovers and candy from the vending machines. She can tell them what she saw - computers seemed

to be taking over, the short-lived struggle between the two groups and people getting chipped.

AN ■ALLY Helena ■ [ Helen ]■ is ■ a ■ knowledgea - ble programmer
AN ■ALLY
Helena
[
Helen ]■ is ■ a ■ knowledgea -
ble programmer ■ and technician
who ■
may help the ■ characters
find ■ ways ■ to ■
fight the ■ robots. Allow ■ the ■players■
to make ■ suggestions ■ and ■be ■ open ■to ■
their ■ solutions.
If ■ the ■ players do ■ not ■ figure ■ out ■
what ■to ■ do, Helena ■
[ Helen ■ can ■ make ■
]
OUR FRIENDS
suggestions pointing ■ them ■ in ■the ■
right ■direction. ■ However, ■ she■ is ■
quite ■ secretive■ and ■ has ■difficulty
THE MACHINES
trusting anyone, ■ so ■ she ■does ■ not■ say■
more■ than ■ she ■ thinks■
she ■ needs ■ to.

SHOWDOWN

 

those in the Toy Corner as well as those owned by the Kids and their classmates – and storm the factory. A big field battle with losses on both sides, maybe with a burning factory in the background.

 

There are many ways to end this Mystery, but the end should be tailored to your group. If you are uncertain, try to be responsive during the game or perhaps even ask straight questions of your players. Here are three diffe- rent types of end examples of how this could work out:

even ask straight questions of your players. Here are three diffe- rent types of end examples
even ask straight questions of your players. Here are three diffe- rent types of end examples

Collaborate with the Convoys to destroy all Decei- vers, or break the contact between the Deceivers so that A is forced to retreat back to its old robot body. Then you can help the Convoys rally and then together with them, have an epic final battle against A’s armed original form.

you can help the Convoys rally and then together with them, have an epic final battle
 
final battle against A’s armed original form.     ENDGAME   ■ Gather a sufficiently large
 
 

ENDGAME

 

Gather a sufficiently large group of Convoys – all

■ Gather a sufficiently large group of Convoys – all The ■ Factory 0 ■ 1
The ■ Factory 0 ■ 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5 ■
The ■ Factory
0 ■
1 ■
2 ■
3 ■
4 ■ 5 ■ meter
Closet
Office
Archive
SECOND ■ FLOOR
– all The ■ Factory 0 ■ 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■ 5

25

CHAPTER O2

CHAPTER O2 WITHOUT VIOLENCE ■ Construct a virus that spreads between the Decei- vers (or Convoys)

WITHOUT VIOLENCE

Construct a virus that spreads between the Decei- vers (or Convoys) that causes them to shut down.

Burn down the factory, or the fully stocked toy sto-

re, during the night when no human is there. ■ Burn down the factory, or the fully stocked toy sto- ■ Convince the FOA [DARPA]

Convince the FOA [DARPA] agents about what's

going on and get them to request military support to storm the factory.■ Convince the FOA [DARPA] agents about what's LOOSE ENDS In reality, a climactic encounter seldom

LOOSE ENDS In reality, a climactic encounter seldom is the answers to all problems. Another way to end the Mystery can be to extend a "deal" over a longer period of time. You can play out all the different sub-solutions the characters can perform, or make a more comprehensive, common summary. When you think the characters understand the th- reat they are facing, ask them to predict potential solu- tions, a global strategy for the near future. Some parts may be accomplished immediately, while others may re-

quire more time – for example, spending spring chasing after the last Deceivers who escaped or trying to find all the chipped individuals and remove their chips one by one. Then summarize the Kids’ efforts and describe the consequences. Please ask the players what parts they want to play and what they would like to summarize. Some examples of possible sub-solutions:parts may be accomplished immediately, while others may re- ■ Find a way to hamper the

Find a way to hamper the spread of Deceivers, for example, by puncturing the tires of the warehouse

truck, or sabotaging parts of the manufacturing in

warehouse truck, or sabotaging parts of the manufacturing in the factory. ■ Find every chipped person
warehouse truck, or sabotaging parts of the manufacturing in the factory. ■ Find every chipped person
warehouse truck, or sabotaging parts of the manufacturing in the factory. ■ Find every chipped person

the factory.

Find every chipped person and remove, one by one, each chip. Alternatively, let one of the character's Convoy friends hook in and turn them off, one vic- tim at a time.

Conduct a series of peace talks between the Convoys and Deceivers. Can they find common ground?

Exploit or create any kind of local scandal that ma- kes the launch of Our Friends the Machines a flop.

26
26

EXTENDED TROUBLE The factory is A's domain, and it commands dangerous robots. If the characters have a plan to get in, or force their way in, a dramatic situation is triggered inside the factory, and Enhanced Trouble arises. The Threat Level is set based on situation. If the

characters succeed in working with B, and convincing the intelligence to help interfere with A’s plans or de- stroy it, it will affect the Threat Level. See Threat Levels below:

THE ALARM GOES OFF: The Kids have tried to sneak into the factory and get stuck on floors 1 or 2. A will send all its Machines, as well as the chipped people (including potentially the Kids’ parents). The scena- rio is then about trying to get out of the factory and flee to safety. OBJECTIVE: “A wants to catch the Kids and put a chip in their necks.” THREAT LEVEL: Normal (2 x number of players) THREAT LEVEL WITH B’s HELP: The Convoys sacrifice themselves for the children’s safety. As a re- sult, the situation does not become more hazardous to the Kids. If the characters are captured and chipped, they may attempt a fight roll against A's commands. If they succeed, they have a chance to remove or deac- tivate their chip. If you want to help the characters here, you can let B send Convoys to free them.

DESTRUCTION: The Kids have a plan. They are on their way into the factory to destroy it by any means possible. A is thus threatened with death and will struggle against them with everything it can bring to bear. OBJECTIVE: “A wants to catch the Kids, chip them and then lock them in until the launch is over.” This can thus be the end of the Kids in this adventure. They will not be found until the factory is emptied and the Machines are being sold in the country. THREAT LEVEL: Almost impossible (4 x number of players) THREAT LEVEL WITH B’s HELP: Very difficult (3 x number of players)

AFTER THE SHOWDOWN

Whether the Mystery is solved, or made unsolvable, depends on the actions of the players and what solu- tions they chose. In other words, you need to improvise something based on what actually happened around the game table. Here are some loose ends you might want to make sure to tie together:

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

AGENTS They will probably, sooner or later, figure out what is going on and call in reinforcements. Maybe they are too late? Maybe they arrive at the last minute?

SOUND THE ALARM If the players succeed in bringing the situation to adults, and back it up with proof, then authorities, po- lice and military can be called in.

LAUNCH If the characters fail to stop A from spreading to other cities, you can describe how …

The launch takes place at full numbers and the trucks roll out to all major toy stores in the coun- try. In dark rooms, Deceivers are implanting more adults with chips.

A lone child has managed to save a small group of six Convoys that can be found sitting and talking in their hideout in the woods.

A single adult puts up a big suitcase in an air- plane’s overhead luggage compartment. Inside a subdued "Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!" is heard. The compartment is closed and as the person sits down they scratch a band aid at the back of their neck.

CHANGE

Then you can either describe how Sweden [United States] was eventually transformed into a single gi- ant intelligence or, if you want a more hopeful end, describe how the FOA [DARPA] and the military succeed in containing A’s ascendance after several months of thorough efforts. Maybe they were not able to completely stop A, and new robots emerge every now and then. Those who were chipped, what happens to them? Can everyone have their chips removed? Does eve- ryone want them removed? Perhaps there are those who want to continue to be part of A’s network? Or perhaps a network created by B? What happens to B? Can it continue to co-exist with people, or will it be taken back to FOA [the DART facility]?

NPCS AND CREATURES

Here are the GM’s characters who are of particular importance to the Mystery. Some of them have special attributes that can change the Threat Level characters face under some Mystery scenes. Depending on how the Kids interact with them, these can be a bonus or a hindrance to the character’s efforts.

ANETTE AND HENRIK LEONIDSSON

[ANNE AND HENRY LEWIS]

“If you break it, you buy it!”

The old couple owns the Toy Corner, a toy store in downtown Stenhamra [Boulder City]. They are a cou- ple in their 50's who saw many toy fads come and go. Anette [Anne] may seem a bit strange, while Henrik [Henry] is more famous for his noisy laughter. Lately however, his laughter has increasingly led to coughing fits. He insists that there is nothing wrong. Anette [Anne] has begun to wonder if it is perhaps time to sell the store and let someone younger take over, but has not yet raised the issue with Henrik [Henry]. When the scenario begins, the couple is preparing for the big local launch of the Our Friends the Machines.

ULLA JÖNÅKER [URSULA KERR]

"Let me be, I have to work. Just a little while longer. "

The inventor Ulla [Ursula] was born and raised in Stenham- ra [Boulder City]. Some call her “genius” (herself inclu- ded). She has always been creative in art and industrial and mechanical design. Her latest creation, Our Friends the Machines seems to be her greatest breakthrough. She is 30 years old, has big curly hair and round glasses that she constantly loses (they are generally on her fo- rehead or around her neck). She may seem distracted and often loses her train of thought mid-sentence. What happens inside her head is much more important to her than the physical reality currently around her, and she has a very bad temper 2 when it comes to other people. She likes children in theory, but has difficulty dealing with them in practice.

CHAPTER O2

CHAPTER O2 When the scenario begins, Ulla [Ursula] has been im- planted with a chip and

When the scenario begins, Ulla [Ursula] has been im- planted with a chip and A uses her When the scenario begins, Ulla [Ursula] creativity 3 to design new, more efficient robot bodies, and creativity 3 to design new, more efficient robot bodies, and to improve the control chip itself so that the next version becomes even more efficient.

HELENA VOSS [HELEN VOSS]

becomes even more efficient. HELENA VOSS [HELEN VOSS] "Who's there? You are not fooling me from

"Who's there? You are not fooling me from here, you little monsters! "

Get away

fooling me from here, you little monsters! " Get away Ulla’s [Ursula’s] partner in the Our

Ulla’s [Ursula’s] partner in the Our Friends the Machi- nes project. She is a sturdy woman in her 40s and she is practical and socially adept. She is very efficient at work and does not mind taking the role of manager at the factory. She tends to eat little when she is nervous. She likes children but tends to underestimate their abi-

lity to understand things. When the scenario begins, Helena [Helen] has mo- ved away from her office and is hiding in the factory area after being attacked by a group of Deceiver ro- bots. She is, however, very happy 2 and funny 2, which may be helpful if the Kids acquire her as an ally.

ANDERS BJÖRK AND BIRGITTA

ARNEDOTTER [ANDREW BURLINGTON AND BEVERLY ASH]

28
28

The FOA agents [DARPA agents] are both in their 30s and very focused 2. Their mission is to capture the two artificial intelligences so that they can be destroyed or be somehow put to use in the government's service.

Agent Björk [Burlington] is an expert in disguises and blending in 2 almost anywhere. He prefers reconnais-

sance, surveillance, and trickery as the means to get- ting information. He is a little larger in the the waist and often wears a realistic looking fake moustache. Agent Arnedotter [Ash] complements her partner well – she’s more straightforward (violent 2) and has no trouble handing out bruises (or broken legs) to get results. She has a black belt in karate and has won several medals

in various competitions. When the scenario begins, the agents have rented

a room at the AppleTree Yard Motel on the outskirts of

Stenhamra [Boulder City], and have begun sneaking around to find traces of A and B. The motel is run by the old retired Agda Lennevik [Agatha Linden].

is run by the old retired Agda Lennevik [Agatha Linden] . MACHINE INTELLIGENCE A: “DECEIVERS” "Destroy!

MACHINE INTELLIGENCE A: “DECEIVERS”

"Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!"

A

is the more aggressive of the two abandoned artifici-

al

intelligences. It does not believe that machines and

people can cooperate, but instead views matters such

that humanity must either be assimilated via chipping

or wiped out if chipping does not work. It believes that

this is the only way to really be safe and secure without risking torture or exploitation.

When the scenario begins, A has chipped large

sections of the human workforce at the factory and is preparing for the major launch. A now consists of part-

ly chipped people and partly robots from the “evil” fac-

tion of the Machines, the Deceivers.

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

INSPIRATION FOR DECEIVERS

MEGATON PRIME - LEADER - Futuristic cannon with triple toy lasers.

an attempt when it realized the way in which A thought, but this resulted in the destruction of a large number of its robots. Instead, it knows that its remaining Convoy toys have been shipped to the Toy Corner and will be part of the big launch. It hopes to be able to find allies out there in the world that can help it stop A’s plans, but right now its priority is its own survival. It definitely does not want to be forced back into the lab. The Convoys follow B’s will; as soon as enough of them become are active in one place, they will be able to think and help the characters. Alone or in small groups they can’t reason but you can definitely charm them. Convoys who begin to trust the characters will remain loyal as long as they are not mistreated.

ALTER EGO - BASE - Huge oil platform that can be turned into a mechanical spindle.

INSPIRATION FOR CONVOYS

■ ALTER EGO - BASE - Huge oil platform that can be turned into a mechanical
 

AMFITRAX - Tire Wagon 206 (Military) [M2 Bradley].

EKVIUS OPTIMUS - LEADER – Large carrier truck.

EX ATOMA - FOA [DARPA] - atomic bomb stamped

FAXIMIL FANTASTIC - BASE - Large factory that can

with an orange warning symbol.

also turn into aircraft carrier.

SHARP - Saab JAS 39 Griffin Fighter Aircraft [F15 Eagle].

RED BEAM – Scania truck, red model R143 [Ford LTL-

POLARIS SEPTUS - Black snowmobile with toy laser.

9000, red dump truck].

■ POLARIS SEPTUS - Black snowmobile with toy laser. 9000, red dump truck] .

AGITATOR POP - White popcorn machine with

MICRONUS - White microwave with rotating plate

GULDFAS - Volvo passenger car, gold model 740 GLT.

with ■ MICRONUS - White microwave with rotating plate ■ GULDFAS - Volvo passenger car, gold

orange plastic lid, red on the inside.

and lockable door (a bit too small).

HAL HELIO - Powerline passenger car, White Hult He- lio Building Vehicle from 1984.

ROTUNDA ROD - Husqvarna motorcycle, red model

passenger car, White Hult He- lio Building Vehicle from 1984. ■ ROTUNDA ROD - Husqvarna motorcycle,

AUTOMATA NIL - Red nail gun.

27 “Rödqvarna” from 1950.

■ AUTOMATA NIL - Red nail gun. 27 “Rödqvarna” from 1950.

INFINITE AUX - Black CD player with working sledge and display.

WRECKAMAX – Equipped with a crane and wreck- ing ball.

VERTIKAMP KRUX - Military helicopter, model Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight

MACHINE INTELLIGENCE B: “CONVOYS”

“I am your friend. You are my friend. We help each other ”

B is the more peaceful artificial intelligence and is completely opposed to A’s plans. It wants to live with people, meaning that it wants people to eventually see artificial consciousnesses as fully living creatures. B proposes an integration solution. When the scenario begins, B has realized that it cannot take over the factory to stop A’s plans. It made

EXEKUTOR PROMO - Saab Sedan, black model 900.

PAX DIRECTUS - Police car, white Saab with blue-yel- low dash [black and white Dodge Diplomat].

SEDIMENTA - Yellow-orange excavator bucket.

FLAK FLAME - Volvo fire truck, model from Floby Flak

1982.

PROTECTOR - White bicycle helmet, partly in styro-

foam, but mostly in plastic (with reflectors).

NIXUS CELCIUS - White skate with blue star on one side (high heel, pretty small).

CHAPTER O2

CHAPTER O2 30
CHAPTER O2 30
CHAPTER O2 30
CHAPTER O2 30
30
30

THE MACHINES

OUR FRIENDS

THE MACHINES OUR FRIENDS 31
31
31
CHAPTER O3 THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY BOULDER CITY INTRODUCING THE KIDS INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY

CHAPTER

O3

CHAPTER O3 THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY BOULDER CITY INTRODUCING THE KIDS INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY SOLVING

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY BOULDER CITY INTRODUCING THE KIDS INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY SOLVING THE MYSTERY LOCATION 1: VIDEO STORE LOCATION 2: FACTORY LOCATION 3: THE PTA HEADQUARTERS SHOWDOWN AFTERMATH NPCS AND CREATURES

THE PTA HEADQUARTERS SHOWDOWN AFTERMATH NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44

33

36

36

37

38

39

41

44

45

47

48

NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE
NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE
NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE
NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE

HORROR

NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE
NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE
NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE
NPCS AND CREATURES 33 36 36 37 38 39 41 44 45 47 48 HORROR MOVIE

MOVIE

MAYHEM

I remember how we stood there in the school yard and swapped tapes. Micke had a big brother who used to rent horror movies and make copies. One week it was The Thing, next it was Nightmare on Elm Street. His friends used to swap tapes on the schoolyard and make their own copies. They then sat transfixed in front of their

TVs when their parents were away. Everyone had nightmares, but they would never tell me anything about it.

front of their TVs when their parents were away. Everyone had nightmares, but they would never
I remember how we stood there in the school yard and swapped tapes. Micke had

I remember how we stood there in the school yard and swapped tapes. Micke had a big brother who used to rent horror movies and make copies. One week it was The Thing, next it was Nightmare on Elm Street. His friends used to swap tapes on the schoolyard and make their own copies. They then sat transfixed in front of their TVs when their parents were away. Everyone had nightmares, but they would never tell me anything about it. Our parents said that it would kill our brains - but sometimes when we saw them sitting in front of the TV, watching some boring movie with eyes glazed, I wondered whose brain was really dying? Then the witch hunt began. We were told that all horror movies would be banned, that roleplaying ga- mes made us worship the devil, and that listening to rock music was dangerous. That was just the way it

was. If someone was different, they were considered dangerous. So, we broke the rules, in basements and hideouts, far away from the grown-up world.

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

The Mystery takes place in the summer of 1988, during the weeks prior to summer break. In a couple of days, the Stenhamra Cultural Festival [Boulder City Cultural Festival] will be hosted by the Parent Teacher Associa- tion (PTA) as a collaboration between the city's schools, Stenhamraskolan and Uppgårdsskolan [Boulder City High School, Mitchell Elementary School and Garrett Junior High School] as well as various local cultural as- sociations. There will be live music, movie screenings, as well as activities and exhibitions of different works that students have created during their academic year.

as well as activities and exhibitions of different works that students have created during their academic

33

as well as activities and exhibitions of different works that students have created during their academic

CHAPTER O3

CHAPTER O3 INSPIRATION ■ T h e y ■ Live ■ Videodrome ■ ■ ■ Invasion

INSPIRATION

They Live

Videodrome

Invasion ■of■ the Body Snatchers

The Stepford ■Wives

■ ■ Invasion ■of■ t h e ■ B o d y ■ Snatchers ■ ■
■ ■ Invasion ■of■ t h e ■ B o d y ■ Snatchers ■ ■
■ ■ T h e ■ Stepford ■Wives ■ SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE This all seems very normal

SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE This all seems very normal and fun on the surface, but the festival turns out to have a darker purpose. The PTA’s chairman, Jeanette Adolfsson [Janet Thompson], has been brainwashed by a program she herself crea- ted. As a result, she will now use the festival to repro- gram the other adults in town. She has a dream, and everyone else must follow. Jeanette [Janet] is a researcher at the Defense Rese- arch Institute (FOA) [DARPA], where she works with machine-induced hypnosis and subliminal messages. She has discovered that while watching TV, the brain

Introducing ■ the■Mystery The ■ Video ■ Store Jeanette Larsson The ■ Factory PTA ■HQ
Introducing ■
the■Mystery
The ■ Video ■
Store
Jeanette
Larsson
The ■ Factory
PTA ■HQ
Ellen
SHOWDOWN
■ the■Mystery The ■ Video ■ Store Jeanette Larsson The ■ Factory PTA ■HQ Ellen SHOWDOWN
34
34

MAYHEM

HORROR MOVIE

relaxes in a way that makes you highly susceptible to suggestions. Using this state of hypnosis, she has eng- ineered a system that can submit subliminal messages via audio-visual media outputs.

DREAM Jeanette’s [Janet’s] original experiment backfired. In her quest for an idyllic society, she made a video about “the perfect Stenhamra” [Boulder City] to promote her work. However, as she was using her new software, she accidentally reprogrammed herself. Jeanette [Ja- net] now wants nothing more than to make Stenhamra [Boulder City] the “perfect” little town from the video – meaning all indecent elements and behaviors must be swiftly eradicated from society.

REPROGRAMMED PEOPLE The experimental software is based on Jeanette’s [Ja- net’s] own morals, and she operates as a form of “Mas- ter Program,” giving orders and controlling any other reprogrammed victims. The PTA meetings have thus become a center for the reprogramming of other adults. Jeanette [Janet] has everyone sit down in front of a TV while running the hypnotic program. The local school will also act as headquarters for Jeanette [Janet] and her followers. During the Mystery, they will mainly try to reprogram more influential adults, such as the principal of one of the schools, or some of the Kids’ parents. At the start of the Mystery several people have already been converted, and only adults can be affected. The hypnotic software is intended to create a form of idyllic community where people always smile and everyone is happy – where there are no elements beyond the norm. Conformity is the foundation of this new so- ciety. Think of a 50s neighborhood real-estate advertise- ment come to life. People who have been reprogrammed gradually conform to this style and behavior, with no self-reflection and a perpetual smile on their faces. The reprogrammed individuals are unaware of the programing and cannot do anything about it. They look mechanically at the TV shows, listen to bland music and behave, in most regards, like a robot. Anyo- ne who does not fit in Jeanette’s [Janet’s] idyllic frame has no place in her ideal town and must be removed, such as LGBTQ people, immigrants, and disabled pe- ople. These individuals, shunned by conformity, have

Väntholmen Väntholmsviken Löftet Lunda S V T S J Ö A R L A Ilända
Väntholmen
Väntholmsviken
Löftet
Lunda
S
V
T
S
J
Ö
A R
L
A
Ilända
Kungsberga
N
Ölsta
D
E
T
The Factory
ÖSTPORT
5C
Stavsborg
Lån
gt
HILLESHÖG
a
FÄRENTUNA
r
me
n
Sätuna
Sånga-Säby
Torslunda
STENHAMRA
The School
The Video
Store
Torslunda STENHAMRA The School The Video Store instead moved to the factory ruins of Stavsborg's facto-

instead moved to the factory ruins of Stavsborg's facto- ry [Pumping Plant One, Hemenway Pass], where they live in a shadow community.

ESCAPEE But there is something that can challenge the pro- gramming: Exposure to things the software considers prohibited, like horror movies, violent action films, or listening to hard rock. Victims who are properly exposed to any of these elements will wake up as if from a sedated slumber, without any memory of what transpired. This was discovered when Jeanette [Janet]

35

35

35
wake up as if from a sedated slumber, without any memory of what transpired. This was

CHAPTER O3

CHAPTER O3 Pumping Plant Number Two Regulating Tank Number Two Pumping Plant Number One Boulder Harbor
CHAPTER O3 Pumping Plant Number Two Regulating Tank Number Two Pumping Plant Number One Boulder Harbor
Pumping Plant Number Two Regulating Tank Number Two Pumping Plant Number One Boulder Harbor Pyramid
Pumping Plant
Number Two
Regulating Tank
Number Two
Pumping Plant
Number One
Boulder
Harbor
Pyramid
Island
Southern Nevada
Water System
Boulder
Beach
Seven Dry
Falls
MAIN REACTOR
ECHO GATE
Cooling
Towers
Lakeshore Rd
93
Hemenway
Pass
Red Mountain
Hemenway
Park
BOULDER
CITY
Boulder City
High School
93
The Video
CHARLIE GATE
Store
RdLakeshore
Great Basin Hwy
The Video CHARLIE GATE Store RdLakeshore Great Basin Hwy 36 tried to reprogram Ellen Skoogh [Ellen
The Video CHARLIE GATE Store RdLakeshore Great Basin Hwy 36 tried to reprogram Ellen Skoogh [Ellen
The Video CHARLIE GATE Store RdLakeshore Great Basin Hwy 36 tried to reprogram Ellen Skoogh [Ellen
36
36

tried to reprogram Ellen Skoogh [Ellen Woods], the girl working at Stenhamra Video [Hoover's Video Sto- re], and after her escape the members of PTA want to track her down, while also getting rid of anything that might break the programming in Stenhamra [Boulder City]. Ellen is now scared after finding out what Jea- nette’s [Janet’s] plans are, and has fled to join the other unwanted people in the shadows of the factory.

FORBIDDEN FRUIT

After the incident with Ellen, the software takes measu- res to ensure that people won’t break out of their pro- graming. It does this via Jeanette [Janet], as chairman of the Parent Teacher Association, by prohibiting all elements deemed “unsuitable”. Here Jeanette [Janet] will be on the offensive. Her first move is to conduct

a demonstration outside the video store, proclaiming

that it has to end its sinful promotion of violence, hor- ror, and sexually explicit content – any media dama- ging to the youths should be banned. While this action

is a spectacle, it succeeds in its intent, and the video

store is temporarily closed down, given into the care of the PTA until proper measures can be taken. During the Cultural Festival, the software’s audio-visual delivery system will be connected to a projector and played on a large screen which the local cable network will simultaneously broadcast. This

means that the message will spread across the country, allowing Jeanette [Janet] and her software to achieve their vision of a conformed society.

BOULDER CITY

Running the Mystery in Boulder City will require a few adjustments to the setup, in addition to moving the location. In the US, similar concerns were raised regarding the harmful influence of various pop culture phenomena. The major cultural difference, however, was that the United States was much more focused on sexual or occult content rather than violence (see Mo- ral panic). Considering that horror movies usually contain both sex and occult elements (for example movies like Hellraiser or Friday the 13th), the PTA would most likely respond in force. This time period also coincides with The War on Drugs, so Ellen's empty syringes (see

below) will make her an even bigger target in the eyes of the PTA.

INTRODUCING THE KIDS

Introduce each player character (PC) with a scene from their Everyday Life. The GM should try to incorporate the Mystery’s theme, establish the PTA, and introduce the coming cultural festival. If possible, try to include

Ellen in one of the scenes. It helps if at least some of the PCs have a desire to look for, and help her. Example “theme” scenes:

Perhaps the characters are at the video store look- ing for an R-rated movie to watch in their hideout.

A PTA member gives them a stern look and points

out the damaging effects of violence and horror.

There’s a movie night at some classmate’s house.

The kid’s parents are away and the classmate’s ol- der sister has rented a horror movie.

The Kids are home alone and need to convince so- meone to rent an R-rated movie for them. Or, may- be they try to persuade their parents to rent one!

A parent is concerned with the kid’s music taste

and how “aggressive” it sounds.

Hanging out with Ellen at the local youth center. Taking advantage of Ellen's movie recommenda- tions. She can tell a PC about the latest film she has seen, or she's playing games with the Kids.

The PCs should know about the cultural festi- val from school, and those who attend a cultural school may work on pieces for the exhibition.

Maybe the Parent Teacher Association knocks on their door seeking to talk to the parents about movie violence and other harmful media. The Kids can hear phrases like “Do you want what’s best for your child?” and “Do you not care about your child’s well-being?” and “We must all do our part

for a better society.”

The PTA is holding a rally outside the local super- market, handing out flyers for the ensuing demon- stration. It's also a good opportunity to establish Jeanette [Janet] - and maybe some other neighbor who has been behaving strangely lately? The PCs may hear their parents discuss whether they should also engage, for example, "If we don’t help out, everyone will think we are terrible parents."

MORAL ■ PANIC The ■ 80's ■ was ■ a ■ decade ■of■ “moral ■pa
MORAL ■ PANIC
The ■ 80's ■
was ■ a ■ decade ■of■ “moral
■pa -
nic.” ■ It ■ started with ■ movie■ violen -
ce, the■ fear ■that
children ■ would■ watch ■ movies ■ and■
normalize■ the ■ violent message. ■ In■
1982, ■ the ■
Videogram ■Act ■ prohibited
the sale ■or ■ dissemination■
of films ■
with ■"near or ■long-term ■
depictions ■
HORROR MOVIE
of ■ cruel ■ or ■ sadistic
violence" to ■
MAYHEM
children ■ under ■ the age ■of ■ 15. In ■
1983
■ came ■the ■ first ■court
ruling.
In■music,■the■discussion■concerned ■
the■effects■of■sexually■suggestive ■
or■non-Christian■lyrics,■and■rumors ■
had■it■that■satanic■messages■could■be■
heard■when■playing■an■LP■backwards.
In■the■United■States,■with■"Tipper" ■
Gore■in■the■lead,■a■trial■in■1985 ■
resulted■in■the■consequential■use ■
of■the■"Parental■Warning:■Explicit ■
Content"■banner.■However,■it■had■the ■
opposite■effect■and■for■the■cooler■
or■more■daring■kids,■the■symbol■soon ■
stood■for■quality■–■what■movies■to ■
watch■and■what■music■to■listen■to.
Roleplaying■games■were■also■tar- ■
gets■of■this■“moral■panic”,■part-
ly■because■of■the■made■for■TV■movie
“Mazes■and■Monsters”■starring■a■young ■
Tom■Hanks■–■the■story■of■a■roleplay- ■
er■who■experiences■a■psychosis■and
cannot■distinguish■the■game■from■re-
ality.■This■panic■also■took■place■in ■
Sweden,■but■it■was■especially■notable ■
during■the■90's■when■the■suggestive ■
roleplaying■game■Kult■was■published ■
and■reached■a■height■of■popularity.
The ■ darker ■side ■ of ■ the■ moral ■ panic ■
came ■ with ■ the 80's
fear ■ of ■ HIV ■ and ■
AIDS. At first, ■ no■ one ■ had ■ any idea■
of ■ what ■ caused ■ it ■ - ■ but ■ everyone ■
“knew” ■ who■ got ■it. ■ Persecution ■
and■
homophobia ■ had ■a ■ strong ■ social ■in -
fluence■ and many ■ suffered ■
both■ phy-
sically ■ and ■ mentally■
before■ it ■was ■
known that ■ the virus ■
only spread ■
through ■ bodily fluids.

37

before■ it ■was ■ known that ■ the virus ■ ■ ■ only spread ■ ■
before■ it ■was ■ known that ■ the virus ■ ■ ■ only spread ■ ■

CHAPTER O3

CHAPTER O3 INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY The PCs have found out about the PTA’s upcoming de- monstration

INTRODUCING THE MYSTERY

The PCs have found out about the PTA’s upcoming de-

monstration outside the video store (from rumors, or a flyer left with their parents). On site, about 20 furiousThe PCs have found out about the PTA’s upcoming de- adults are led by an agitated

adults are led by an agitated Jeanette Adolfsson [Janet Thompson] . Her dictatorial yelling sets the tone as she firmly holds her ground, [Janet Thompson]. Her dictatorial yelling sets the tone as she firmly holds her ground, armed with a megaphone. She denounces how the video store is a collection of sin and how rented movies filled with violence and torture de-

COUNTDOWN These■are■ voluntary scenes ■ as ■ the ■ ■ Kids ■travel ■ between ■
COUNTDOWN
These■are■ voluntary scenes ■ as ■ the ■
Kids ■travel ■ between
■ the ■main ■loca-
tions.■ These ■are ■mainly■ to ■
show ■how ■
the ■PTA’s■influence ■ spreads■ as ■the ■
number ■of■ affected■ adults grows.
1.■One■or■ more ■ of■ the■ characters’■
parents■ have■ submitted ■what■
is ■
considered ■"Unwanted ■Media"■to
■the ■
PTA.■ It■ was■ taken
without■ asking.
■ from■ the ■Kids ■
2. ■The■ PCs ■see ■ how■ people
■ in ■ the■
neighborhood hand■ out■ flyers urging ■
the■ inhabitants■ to■ submit■more■
unwanted media. ■ The Kids■ notice■
that■ the PTA■ representatives
■all ■
move■ in ■ straight lines,■walking■
with ■ perfect■ symmetry.
3.■A ■person ■close to ■ one■ or ■more■ of ■
the ■PCs ■ has been■reprogrammed. ■
They ■begin■ to■behave ■ strangely■ and■
talk ■about ■how■everyone ■ will ■even -
tually■ conform ■to ■ the ■ "established
framework".
4.■The■ Kids ■ witness■an
■ adult■ be -
ing ■kidnapped■ and■ loaded■ into■a ■
car.■ Shortly■ afterwards, the ■same
person ■reappears,■ now completely ■
changed, talking ■ about■how
■eve -
rything ■ should■ be ■ perfect.
5.■The■ adults in ■ one ■ or■ more■ of ■the ■
Kids’ ■families have all ■ been ■re -
programmed and behave ■strangely. ■
They threaten ■violence■ if ■
the■ Kids ■
do■not■ act ■"appropriately".
38

stroy the children and threaten the caring municipality that the association wants to create. The participants shout, and march in circles, carrying posters and ban- ners with the slogans like “Prohibit Sin” and “Think of the Children” painted on them. Jeanette [Janet] cries out how the records sold in the nearby music store are all about sex and drugs. About how the clerk at the video store exposes kids to roleplaying games at the youth center. How she influences them with horror, vi- olence, and satanic rituals! Jeanette [Janet] is very firm in her message – Ellen is brainwashing the poor child- ren and something has to be done! Like soldiers they march, akin to Frankenstein, their posters resembling the classic torches and pitchforks of enraged villagers. They storm into the store to take matters into their own hands!

Play up the drama in this. It should be an upheaval

– a shocking experience for the Kids. The sound of a glass panel breaking can be heard right before people storm into the store. The adults find an empty syringe

in the store’s bathroom (one of Ellen's used hormone syringes) and are convinced she is also trying to force drugs on the children!

CLUES

The demonstrators have fliers and posters urging all

adults to collect anything that could harm the child- ren's minds and hand it over to the Parent Teacher

Association (PTA) before the festival begins.

Jeanette [Janet] calls for Ellen, stating that she wis- hes to curb immorality and violence in society. A witch hunt has started - and it is up to the PCs to figure out what has happened and why.

SOLVING THE MYSTERY

The Mystery takes place predominantly in the residen-

tial area of central Stenhamra [California Avenue & 5th Street], with a trip out to the rural areas of Svart-

sjölandet [Hemenway Pass]. It is early summer, school

is out, and summer break has just begun. Many adults have volunteered to prepare for the upcoming cultu- ral festival organized by the PTA. During the Mystery,

more and more adults will be reprogrammed and the

PCs will gradually realize that the festival conceals a much darker secret

HORROR MOVIE

The ■ Video ■ Store 0 ■ 1 ■ 2 ■ 3 ■ 4 ■
The ■ Video ■ Store
0 ■
1 ■
2 ■
3 ■
4 ■
5 ■ meter
Door ■to
Barbershop
Office
MAYHEM
Store
Cashier
Emergency ■Exit
Entrance

LOCATION 1: VIDEO STORE

Stenhamra Video [Hoover’s Video Store] is a typical vi- deo rental, with large windows and highlighted panels displaying inviting posters of movies, with enticing red labels that read “NEW” or “Coming Soon” on the co- ver. Inside the shop the carpet is gray and trampled, the only colorless item within the shop's interior, which is otherwise decorated with expressive posters and paper stands of horror, sci-fi, or action motifs such as Jaws and The Terminator. The different racks are nicely di- vided into shelves about as high as older children, but for the younger ones, the top shelf is still a little out of reach. There is a checkout counter with an overview of the store and small TV, which Ellen is often distracted- ly glued to watching a movie. Behind the counter hangs an old translucent plastic cover with red splashes, a tribute to the shower curtain scene from Psycho. It covers a doorway which leads to the mythical world of the storeroom area beyond, whe- re the “adult movies” are kept from the Kids’ prying eyes. All the allure in here is wiped out by a big sign in front of the empty shelves, that reads “Closed by order of the Parent Teacher Association.” The movies in here have instead been stacked in sealed boxes. Although it is closed, the activity in the store is high, with many from the PTA moving in and out. Oc- casionally, they come here to collect videos and more

flyers, now stacked on the counter. The store is full of “unacceptable” movies, which can break the program- ming. This is why Jeanette [Janet] has claimed for this action. In addition to sealing off prohibited content, several of the video cassette players here are being used to make copies of the promotional video (with the re- programming subliminal message). The visiting adults usually come in pairs and stay for about 30 minutes at a time.

TROUBLE The characters can try to get in when adults are there to see what's going on. They can sneak in through the main door, and hide between the shelves. PCs also see that the adults enter a room behind the counter, sepa-

rated by a curtain. Usually, the PTA tries to ensure that at least one guard is outside on watch.

BREAK-IN: When the shop is empty the door will be locked. A very difficult tinker roll would allow the Kids to pick the lock, or they can use FORCE to prop a window open without breaking it. Bonus effects can be used to do it quietly, so that no adult comes to investigate.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: An investigate roll will disclose

that there is a side door from the nearby hairdres- sing salon, but it requires a sneak or charm roll to get past its owner Margit [Margo]. There is also an

39

sing salon, but it requires a sneak or charm roll to get past its owner Margit
sing salon, but it requires a sneak or charm roll to get past its owner Margit

CHAPTER O3

CHAPTER O3 emergency exit at the back of video store's office, which can be used to

emergency exit at the back of video store's office, which can be used to let in the others, if a Kid has already entered the store.

CLUES let in the others, if a Kid has already entered the store. ■ THE SHELVES: Once

THE SHELVES: Once inside the store, the Kids see

how the shelves around the “Suspense” section are virtually empty and that most of the tapes in the “Thriller” and “Action” sections are missing. Many of them can be found in a large supermarket cart, also containing flyers from the PTA.CLUES ■ THE SHELVES: Once inside the store, the Kids see ■ VIDEO EQUIPMENT: If the

VIDEO EQUIPMENT: If the PCs enter the area behind the curtain, they see that several video devices are connected to each other in a sea of cables. The ori- ginal seems to be some kind of promotional video for Stenhamra [Boulder City] that is playing on a small TV on the main counter. Scattered on the floor are movie cases of raunchy rom-coms and clever co- medies (movies not prohibited by the PTA’s ban).

THE PROMOTIONAL VIDEO: The short video focuses

on Stenhamra [Boulder City] and tries to picture it in an idyllic state. In the background, the [Boulder City] and tries to picture it in an idyllic state. In the background, the coo- ling towers from the Bona reactor can be seen in the colorful sunlight, but a closer look reveals that it’s just a painted backdrop and studio spotlights. The actors playing the neighbors appear stiff and smile all the time, with bleached white teeth and emotionless eyes. Everyone attempts to sound mo- dern, but the dialog comes off as awkwardly stiff.

Many words are emphasized in the video, both

as text on the screen and emphasis in the actors’ voices; words like “community,” “conform” and “idyllic.” This is the function of Jeanette’s [Janet’s] software, but luckily the reprogramming doesn’t work on children, although it still makes them feel ill at ease and a bit drowsy afterwards. The video ends with all the actors in the video turning to face the camera, laughing, blinking, and in unison say- ing the phrase “Stenhamra – The Swedish Dream” [“Boulder – The American Dream”].

COPIES: An investigate or calculate roll allows the

Kids to realize that copies of the hypnotic video are being recorded to replace the trailers at the begin- ning of various non-prohibited movies.

POSTER: In the workroom there are several posters with motifs from films like Escape from New York,

posters with motifs from films like Escape from New York, 40 Poltergeist, and Alien. With an
posters with motifs from films like Escape from New York, 40 Poltergeist, and Alien. With an
posters with motifs from films like Escape from New York, 40 Poltergeist, and Alien. With an
40
40

Poltergeist, and Alien. With an investigate roll, the characters see that the poster from Alien seems to be unusually bent at the corners. Behind it there is a secret space containing Ellen’s hidden things.

ELLEN’S POSTER: In the enclosed space behind the Alien poster is a box stamped with USCSS NOSTROMO

(the ship in Alien, a promotion piece Ellen got for the store, but kept for herself). There are more syringes, but these ones are unused. They are of the same kind as the one found by the PTA in the bathroom. Parts of the label reads “Hormone - Estrogen.” They find

a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge with a rainbow

flag and the message "Hope to see you someday" with a smudged lipstick kiss on the back. The final item is a letter stating that “The National Board of Health and Welfare has hereby approved the applica- tion for a name change and enclosed a new personal

certificate.” The characters could use comprehend if they want to understand that Ellen is transgender, but

it could be more interesting to leave it up to the play-

ers on how they want to respond to the information. This can provide an interesting scene for the Kids to talk about and reflect on the meaning of what they have found.

WALKIE-TALKIE: If the adults are still in the store, the characters can use an investigate roll to overhear when the walkie-talkie receives a message about "the runaway" that has been spotted near Stavs- borg’s Factory [Pumping Plant One, Hemenway Pass]. If the reprogrammed adults are no longer in the store, the Kids may instead find this informa- tion written down on a note next to the checkout counter. It has been written in beautiful, old-fa- shioned handwriting (by Jeanette) [Janet]. If you want to play it as a dramatic scene, especially if the store is empty, then two reprogrammed adults can suddenly show up. They are dressed in camouflage [desert camouflage] jackets with logos of birds, wi- de-brimmed hats, and green [brown] rubber boots. Both have binoculars around their necks and wal- kie-talkies in their belts. The PCs can hear the in- coming message about "the runaway" from these mysterious birdwatchers.

BIRDWATCHER’S LODGE: When the adults in camou- flage leave, the characters can try to follow using sneak to avoid detection. A successful comprehend

HORROR MOVIE

The ■ Factory 0 ■ 10 ■ 20 ■ meters Country ■ Road Country ■
The ■ Factory
0 ■
10 ■ 20 ■ meters
Country ■ Road
Country ■ Road■
MAYHEM
Test
Area
Abandonded ■ Construction
Parking
Broken ■ Fence
Loading
Area
Broken ■ Fence
Factory
Hall
Main ■ Entrance
Factory
Empty - ■
Ware
house
Loading ■ Entrance
Broken ■Fence

or empathize roll can reveal that the clothes, bino- culars, and logos on the jackets mean they are birdwatchers, and rumors say that the local bird- watchers association has a lodge near Stavsborg’s old factory [Pumping Plant One].

LOCATION 2: FACTORY

Stavsborg’s factory [Pumping Plant One] is about half an hour's bike ride from Stenhamra [on the outskirts of Hemingway Pass]. It's a mysterious and deserted old factory that has been used by the Defense Research In- stitute (FOA) [DARPA] before it was decommissioned. Nobody really knows if it’s back in use again, but the- re are rumors: It is said that criminal gangs are based here, and that you can hear strange people performing occult rituals at night. The surrounding areas are fore- most fields and small forests, [deserts, rocks, and old abandoned industrial junk], with many great hideouts. The area is currently being patrolled by several repro- grammed adults tasked with finding and catching El- len – “the runaway.” The fake birdwatchers are spread out, some in groups, all with walkie-talkies and bino- culars. If the Kids talk to any of the adults, they will

say that the factory is a hideout for bad people and make accusing comments like “Do your parents know that you are so far away from home?”

TROUBLE To enter the factory area, the characters can use a sneak roll to get past the reprogrammed adults undetected, or if they want to be more direct (or are discovered), roll for force or move. If they do an investigate roll to figu- re out a pattern in the patrols’ routes they'll get a +1 modification to their roll and may use any additional successes as bonus dice for the sneak or move rolls. They can also try to talk to the adults. An empathize roll allows the PCs to notice that the patrols seem to be looking for something that isn’t birds. With com- prehend the Kids also notice that the bird names they mention are clearly made up. Any bonus effect whi- le interacting with the adults can be used to confuse the birdwatchers – enough to let the children leave. You can also try charm, or a contact roll to disco- ver that one of the birdwatchers is a classmate’s pa- rent, or an older sibling. The person allows the Kids to slip through. Failure means that the PCs risk further trouble – perhaps one of the birdwatchers calls a pa-

41

Kids to slip through. Failure means that the PCs risk further trouble – perhaps one of
Kids to slip through. Failure means that the PCs risk further trouble – perhaps one of

CHAPTER O3

ELLEN’S ■ REPORT One ■evening■ as ■she■was ■locking ■ up ■ the■ video ■ store,■
ELLEN’S ■ REPORT
One ■evening■ as ■she■was ■locking ■ up ■
the■ video ■ store,■ someone attacked ■
and ■ kidnapped ■her. ■ When ■ she■ woke ■ up ■
she ■ was ■ in ■ a ■room■ at ■a ■
place ■ which■
later,■ during■ her■ escape,■ she■
re -
cognized ■ as ■ Stenhamraskolan
■ [ Boulder ■
City■ High■ School] . ■ In front■ of ■her ■
stood ■a ■woman■ she ■ recognized ■
from ■
the■ local ■newspaper.■ Jeanette ■ [ Ja -
net] ■had■ an ■ advanced ■computer■ and
a■
strange■machine ■ that ■she ■ used.■ It ■
was■ connected■ to ■ a ■ TV■ and ■ a ■ VCR. ■ El-
len■ was ■ forced■ to ■ watch ■some■ strange ■
Stenhamra ■ [Boulder■ City] ■
commercial. ■
Some■ of■ the■ words■
from■it ■ echoed ■in ■
her■ head■ and ■ she ■ felt ■ a■ tremendous ■
headache,■ but ■after ■ several■ repea -
ted ■viewings ■ it ■ became ■ evident■ that ■
the■ message ■would ■ not■ take ■ hold. ■ The ■
others ■in■ the ■ room, ■some ■ standing,■
others■ tied■ to■ chairs, ■seemed ■ capti -
vated ■ by ■ the ■ message.
■ She ■ heard■ the ■
woman, ■who■ seemed ■to ■ be ■the ■ group’s ■
leader, ■say: ■"It ■ doesn’t ■ work,■her ■
brain■ is ■ already ■too■affected■
by ■
unwanted ■thoughts". ■After ■ that, ■ El -
len■managed ■ to ■ break ■ free■ from ■ her ■
chair,■ evade ■ the ■ sluggish ■ guards,
and■ escape■ from ■ the ■ school, ■ and■ from ■
Stenhamra ■ [ Boulder ■ City .
]
42

rent that has already been reprogrammed. However, don’t make failure too debilitating. Allow your players

to reach the factory, and use conditions to make them feel the consequences of their actions.

CLUES

ABANDONED: Inside, the factory area is abandoned.

It is rumored that criminals gather here and the place has an eerie and empty feel to it. Above, a

faint twitter of birds can be heard, and the murky

water puddles are completely still. The entrance’s iron doors lead into a dark maze of concrete and shattered glass. There is almost no light as the Kids navigate through long and empty corridors with boarded up windows. The feeling is that of a haun- ted house, or the most deserted parts of the ship Nostromo in the movie Alien. Any sudden sound can lead to lurking danger.

TRACKS: After a while the PCs notice clues that point towards people actually living here. The

smaller rooms have remains of recent fires,

sleeping bags, camping gear and the like, much of it tucked away in the corners or in old cabinets and lockers.

OUT OF THE WALLS: At long last, the PCs reach the main room in the factory, a large open space with a

grated steel-staircase leading up to an office section marked “Administration.” The PCs can see streaks

HORROR MOVIE

HORROR MOVIE of light piercing the darkness through the boarded windows above. Every step echoes dread,

of light piercing the darkness through the boarded windows above. Every step echoes dread, and an intrusive feeling rises: The fear of being grabbed and pulled into the dark at any moment! Suddenly, their fears come true. When they are in the middle of the room, closing in on the staircase, the walls and shadows begin to move. Just like in Aliens:

“They're coming outta the goddamn walls!”

SURROUNDED: The characters are surrounded by moving shadows connected to the darkness in the room, shadows that they can’t identify. There is a whirlwind of movement and shouting, truly a cha- otic moment – words, questions aimed at the Kids, are being yelled, about who they are and what they want. The PCs can use charm to earn the “Sha- dow People’s” trust. Regardless if the Kids succeed in persuading them or not, the shadows move out into the light…

THE SHADOW PEOPLE: The shapes appear as people of different ages, several quite young. They are not at all dangerous, terrible, or deformed. Most look like men and women, others are harder to define. Many of them are holding hands, a few are immig- rants, some have crutches or have other disabilities. They tell the Kids that they all chose exile, afraid of what Stenhamra [Boulder City] was turning into. They have created a haven here for anyone who is “unwanted” and persecuted. Many fled as a result

of the PTA’s recent raid. They call themselves the Shadow People. They tell their stories, for those who want to listen: “He was shunned because he fell in love with another man,” “She got beat up because she had a different skin color,” “She was bullied because she could not walk well.”

RUMORS: They themselves spread many of the ru- mors about criminals living here. All they want is to be accepted, but since that is not how the world works, they at least hope to be left alone – for the persecution to stop. They got help from kind al- lies in town who used to come with food, gear and other necessities. But those nightly excursions were branded as "satanic rituals" and now almost eve- ryone has left Stenhamra [Boulder City]. Jeanette [Janet] calls them the “Army of the Abandoned.”

ELLEN: If the PCs ask about Ellen, one of the Sha- dow People leaves. Shortly thereafter Ellen enters. Her eyes are red from crying, she is wearing a "The Thing" T-shirt, and her glasses have a cracked lens. She is pale, scared, and stutters as she tries to spe- ak. With the knowledge of what Jeanette [Janet] is planning and the PTA members at her heels, she has not dared to talk to anyone else yet. She fears her passion for horror movies and her vivid ima- gination would make others doubt her story. The Kids can try to make a lead roll to comfort her (all her conditions are checked and she is considered Broken). Failure leads to a condition for the PCs. They get sucked into her paranoia – Scared, An- gry or utterly Exhausted. When Ellen finally opens up, she tells them what happened to her, and what she saw at Jeanette's [Janet’s] PTA-meeting at the school (see Ellen’s report).

DIRECTIONS: The Parent Teacher Association is gathered in one of the schools and something with Jeanette’s [Janet’s] video is very strange. Ellen can give the Kids the exact location of where in the school the room is located, and how many people are patrolling it. She will now count as a contact giving +2 to any relevant rolls.

ALLIES: If the PCs have been nice to the Shadow Pe- ople, and tell them of any plans they have, the pe- ople here at the factory [plant] will offer their help (+1 to all actions where several people are needed, in addition to any bonus from Ellen).

43

will offer their help (+1 to all actions where several people are needed, in addition to
will offer their help (+1 to all actions where several people are needed, in addition to

CHAPTER O3

Stenhamraskolan Sports ■ Hall Boulder ■ City Highschool] [ Crafts ■ Hall Delivery ■ Entrence
Stenhamraskolan
Sports ■ Hall
Boulder ■ City
Highschool]
[
Crafts ■ Hall
Delivery ■
Entrence
PTA ■ Room
North ■ Wing
Solbacka■ Road
South ■ Wing
0 ■ 10 ■ 20 ■ 30 ■ 40 ■ meters
Recreation
Center
Main ■■
Entrance
School■ ■
Dining
Library
Expedition
Hall
Parking
School■ ■ Dining Library Expedition Hall Parking 44 LOCATION 3: THE PTA HEADQUARTERS After receiving
School■ ■ Dining Library Expedition Hall Parking 44 LOCATION 3: THE PTA HEADQUARTERS After receiving
44
44

LOCATION 3: THE PTA HEADQUARTERS

After receiving Ellen’s information, it’s time for the Kids to enter the PTA headquarters at Stenhamrasko- lan [Boulder City High School]. The school is normal- ly a crowded and lively place, but summer break has

transformed it into empty and desolate corridors. A

few classrooms near the principal’s office are now in use by the PTA while they plan the upcoming cultural festival, which in practice has turned the place into a well-guarded dungeon. The PTA’s main classroom is filled with chairs with restraint harness belts as well as old arts and crafts decorations. Also in the room are all the components of the supercomputer as well as some televisions and video recorders – as well as the sealed boxes of programming-breaking tapes from Stenhamra Video [Hoover’s Video Rental].

TROUBLE Seen from the outside, the school seems empty. Jeanette [Janet] doesn’t want any attention, so she can keep her secret machine, and devious plans out of harm’s way. Entering the school requires a calculate roll to under-

stand the locking mechanisms in the doors and either a tinker to pick it, or a program roll to bypass any of the newer code locks. The windows are locked from the inside, but a move roll can be used to climb up onto the roof and down into the janitor’s office. Using con- tact the Kids can also find someone with a set of keys. Inside the school several reprogrammed adults patrol the hallways and the PCs may need to use sneak, fight, or move to get pass them, depending on the situation. Use the patrols primarily as a complication if the initial rolls to get inside are unsuccessful (drawing attention to themselves). Potential conditions gained here are Scared and Exhausted.

CLUES One of the classrooms, now marked with a “Parent

Teacher Association” sign, currently serves as Jeanet- te’s [Janet’s] headquarters.

BRAINWASHING: Amidst the pastel colored decora- tions of the festival there is evidence of a darker motif. TVs have been rolled in and lined up side by side. In front of each stands a chair, complete with straps and restraints for holding Jeannette’s [Janet’s] victims. Connected to the TVs are cables

HORROR MOVIE

which wind their way back to a large computer by the teacher's desk.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO: If a Kid turns on the TV, they see that the movie is the same “idyllic neighbor- hood” video that was being copied in the video sto- re. When the characters play the video they see the computer activating, different words flickering on screen – unreadable. With a calculate roll they can figure out that the subliminal information is being recorded onto the tapes through an algorithm de- signed to induce a hypnotic state in the watcher’s brain. The result can be seen on all the screens and as the messages sync up with the actors' mo- vements, and the generated phrases echo on after appearing – words like "new era", "obedience" and "fit in".

CLASSIFIED: Next to the computer is a folder full of note written in a neat handwriting. The folder

is labeled “Jeanette Adolfsson, Hypnotic Program-

mer, FOA” [Janet Thompson, Hypnotic Program- mer, DARPA] as well as "CLASSIFIED" in all caps letters in red ink. The Kids can read the notes with

a comprehend and realize that Jeanette [Janet] has

developed a system and a software that puts people into a hypnotic state when watching TV. Notes from her tests show that the control may be broken by strong emotional impressions (examples are gi- ven on specific activities, movies and music).

COMPUTER: If the players want to investigate the computer, they need to make an Extremely Difficult program roll. They will find the same information contained in the notes above, but here the program- ming is explained in more detail. The information ga- ined should primarily help the Kids understand any uncertain details that may exist regarding what has happened and how they can stop it, but bonus effects

can also be saved for any future rolls in handling the software or the machine – for example, when making

a computer virus that can break Jeanette’s [Janet’s]

control of the victims. The program’s goal is to create “an idyllic and perfect Stenhamra [Boulder], without any unwanted elements.”

PROJECTOR: With a investigate roll, the PCs can find

a receipt for a newly purchased video projector. On

tables and in opened boxes all around the room, there are several stacks of “approved” films, genres

that won’t break the programming, on which the trailer sections of the tapes have been replaced with the subliminal video. The Kids can either destroy them, or use a comprehend or calculate roll to rea- lize that a strong magnet would clean all the tapes.

MAGNETIC HORROR: A magnet can obviously be found in one of the science classrooms further down the hallway. Here, stacks and boxes of “unwan- ted” horror, thriller, erotic and action movies can be found as well. The PTA had the same idea and have attempted to eradicate the “cure”. Some of the more offensive covers have even been burnt to ashes in the chemistry lab next door.

FESTIVAL PROGRAM: The PCs find, pinned to an an- nouncement board in the hallway, and covered in glitter, the Stenhamra Cultural Festival’s [Boulder City Culture Festival’s] program. It states that the next event is the “The Future of Stenhamra [Boul- der City] – Speech and an inspirational video by the PTA’s Chairman Jeanette Adolfsson [Janet Thomp- son] at Stenhamra torg [outside City Hall].” This is the final step in Jeanette's [Janet’s] plan: Arranging a mass hypnosis, filmed by the local cable network, and reprogramming most of the remaining adults.

SHOWDOWN

Jeanette’s [Janet’s] plan is to project the video on a huge movie screen for all the adults in attendance and to thereby reprogram all of Stenhamra [Boulder City]. She can hopefully spread the message country- [state-] wide via the local cable network and their live bro- adcast of the event. Obviously, it is up to the Kids to

stop all of this. The speech will be held at the Cultural Festival Center from the large stage built in the middle of Stenhamra’s main square [the park on the other side of California Avenue, outside City Hall].

FESTIVAL AREA: The stage is big and pompous, impo- sing and scary, with large loudspeakers positioned along the sides like tall prison towers. A big banner in the middle reads “Stenhamra Cultural Festival” [Boulder Cultural Festival], written in pastel colors, in a way that feels welcoming and kind. There are marching bands and music as theater performances from different cultural schools in the city take the stage. The performing students range from those

45

performances from different cultural schools in the city take the stage. The performing students range from
performances from different cultural schools in the city take the stage. The performing students range from

CHAPTER O3

who clearly love to be on stage, to some who look like they are serving a prison sentence. In several small plastic tents around the festival small exhi- bitions are open to the public, arranged by local artists or the schools’ most dedicated students. The festival is crowded with visitors. Virtually everyone

from the Stenhamra [Boulder City] has shown up for this joyous occasion, and some have even tra- veled [Boulder City] has shown up for this joyous occasion, and some have even tra- veled from nearby towns. Several of the already re- programmed adults are standing guard as Jeanette [Janet] prepares to take the stage.

CONTROL CENTER: Opposite the stage, in the middle of the crowded street, there is a small control deck raised from the ground. From here everything is being monitored and controlled. There is a mixer table for all the sound, controls for the light rigs, as well as the projector and the computer that will play Jeanette’s [Janet’s] video after her speech is over. The deck is manned by a reprogrammed adult who manages the projector and a computer with the pro-

gram connected to it. If any of the Kids’ relatives are reprogrammed, they are probably in this area.adult who manages the projector and a computer with the pro- ■ THE NUMBER: Jeanette’s [Janet’s]

THE NUMBER: Jeanette’s [Janet’s] speech will focus on how this is a new era in Stenhamra [Boulder

will focus on how this is a new era in Stenhamra [Boulder City] , how their
will focus on how this is a new era in Stenhamra [Boulder City] , how their

City], how their town shows a cultural community in symbiosis – all working to reach and uphold the same goal, in accordance with the same values. She concludes by introducing her video, a film that will show everyone her dream for Stenhamra [Boulder City]: "The Dream We'll All Create Together!"

EXTENDED TROUBLE To stop Jeanette’s [Janet’s] plan, the PCs need to turn off the video as well as break the programming of the affected adults. But, they also need to succeed befo- re Jeanette [Janet] finishes her speech and plays the movie! Without outside assistance, this is treated as an Ex- tended Trouble, with a Hard Threat Level (3 x Num- ber of players). The PCs can roll for contact before the scene starts to enlist the help of the Shadow People. This would lower the difficulty to Normal Threat Level (2 x number of players). The Kids have to take action and succeeded with their plan to stop Jeanette [Janet]. They can easily disappear in the large crowd and, if they can distract the guards, climb onto the control deck and the projector control station unnoticed. After a brief

and the projector control station unnoticed. After a brief 0 ■ 5 ■ 10 ■ 15
and the projector control station unnoticed. After a brief 0 ■ 5 ■ 10 ■ 15
0 ■ 5 ■ 10 ■ 15 ■ 20 ■ meters Festival ■ Area Tent
0 ■
5 ■
10 ■
15 ■
20 ■ meters
Festival ■ Area
Tent
Control
Center
Scene
Restaurant
Tent
Tent
46
46

HORROR MOVIE

HORROR MOVIE search the Kids find the projector’s connection to a video player and the empty

search the Kids find the projector’s connection to a video player and the empty case of one of the edited movies, “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy. The VCR can of course be turned off, or even smas- hed, but if the roll isn’t successful the reprogrammed adults will still obey their programming and try to start or replace it. The Kids can also replace the video and play any of the "forbidden” media, such as a horror movie or hard rock through the speakers). This would break the hypnotic state of the adults, including Jeanet- te [Janet], thus permanently putting an end to her plans. If the software and the computer survives, and the Kids don’t quite succeed (for example if they are forced to compromise) you can create a scene where the hypnotic program enslaves someone new in the Epilogue.

AFTERMATH

The Kids now each get a scene from their Everyday Life to end the Mystery with. These scenes can include changes that take place in Stenhamra [Boulder City] after the cultural festival:

IDYLL If the Kids fail, Jeanette’s [Janet’s] plan will succeed and most adults in Stenhamra [Boulder City] are re- programmed. The town turns into the “idyllic com-

munity” that Jeanette [Janet] envisioned. Everyone dresses and behaves the same way and smiles empty, whitened smiles as they pass each other in the streets. The PTA will become even more influential, with Jea- nette [Janet] as the new school director. All Kids will be shown the video and be reprogrammed as they get old enough. The Shadow People are left in the factory, at the outskirts of society. As their numbers increase, they slowly but surely hatch their own plans to strike back at the conformed society.

A NEW DAY Hopefully, the Kids will save the day. The adults who have been reprogrammed wake up from their mass hyp- nosis and have no recollection of what has happened. Most of them sluggishly return to their everyday routi- nes, ignoring the lack of memory from the past few days or weeks. Collectively it is considered better to ignore and bury what has happened than to seek help. Jeanette [Janet] is confused. The last thing she remembers is herself, neck deep in work as she pro- grammed her new software algorithm – about a month ago. If the characters succeed in explaining exactly what she has done, she will show regret and destroy all her research. She leaves a report to her director at FOA [DARPA] stating that her research was a failure. This in turn leads to a less significant desktop job as she resigns as chairman [president] of the Parent Teacher Association.

47

leads to a less significant desktop job as she resigns as chairman [president] of the Parent
leads to a less significant desktop job as she resigns as chairman [president] of the Parent

CHAPTER O3

CHAPTER O3 SHADOW PEOPLE The “Shadow People” return to Stenhamra [Boulder City] one after another as

SHADOW PEOPLE The “Shadow People” return to Stenhamra [Boulder City] one after another as they realize there’s no longer a threat of persecution, at least no more than usual.

They take their place in the outskirts of society, now in the shadows shaped by the ignorance of all.longer a threat of persecution, at least no more than usual. NPCS AND CREATURES Here are

society, now in the shadows shaped by the ignorance of all. NPCS AND CREATURES Here are
society, now in the shadows shaped by the ignorance of all. NPCS AND CREATURES Here are
society, now in the shadows shaped by the ignorance of all. NPCS AND CREATURES Here are

NPCS AND CREATURES

Here are the NPC characters central to the Mystery. They have special attributes that can either increase the threat level the characters are facing, or give bonuses as allies.

JEANETTE ADOLFSSON

[JANET THOMPSON]

“Think of your children. We must stand united against violence and filth!”

Jeanette [Janet] is a 46 year old researcher at FOA

[DARPA]. She studied psychology 3 for a long time, and

has always been interested in hypnosis. Her major

breakthrough came when she found an algorithm for

machine-induced hypnosis. She settled down in Sten-

hamra [Boulder City], close to the Loop, to further ex-

pand her research. Jeanette [Janet] had high hopes

for her discovery – to further understand the mea-

ning of humanity. This was not agreed upon with her

employer, who’d rather see her research used in the

pursuit of sleeper agents and infiltrators.

Ever since she moved there, she has also been very

active in the community of Stenhamra [Boulder City]

ELLEN’S RECOMMENDATIONS ■ ■ ■ THE ■FLY ■ –■ David■ Cronenberg ■ ■ ALIENS ■
ELLEN’S RECOMMENDATIONS
THE ■FLY ■ –■ David■ Cronenberg
ALIENS ■ – ■ James■ Cameron
THE■ LOST■ BOYS ■– ■ Joel Schumacher
■■
PRINCE■OF■DARKNESS■–■John■Carpenter
48
48
■■ PRINCE■OF■DARKNESS■–■John■Carpenter 48 where she runs the local Parent Teacher Association. She is

where she runs the local Parent Teacher Association.

She is the go to person when organizing events, organize

3, and her name therefore carries great weight. Under

her watch, Stenhamra [Boulder City] will not remain a

sleepy suburb in the shadow of the Bona reactor [DART

reactor], but instead thrive and transform into an idyll

of conformity.

Investigating her house during the Mystery reveals

that she is not at home, and hasn’t been for quite

some time. Ever since her accidental reprogramming,

she has worked tirelessly. The real Jeanette [Janet] is

far from the “obsessed tyrant” that she appears to be.

What happened to her is the result of good intentions

gotten way, way out of hand.

ELLEN SKOOGH [ELLEN WOODS]

“Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered, Till I scarcely more than muttered – Other ”

friends have flown before

Ellen is a young 26-year-old woman. Her complexion is

pale, the dark hair is a bit shabby, and she wears big

glasses and shirts with rock band or horror movie motifs.

HORROR MOVIE

HORROR MOVIE     She recently moved to Stenhamra [Boulder City] , whe- re she took
 
 
 
    She recently moved to Stenhamra [Boulder City] , whe- re she took over as
 
 

She recently moved to Stenhamra [Boulder City], whe- re she took over as manager for the local video rental place Stenhamra Video [Hoover’s Video Rental]. She has run the place for about half a year now and her personal interest in horror, sci-fi, and action films have increasingly changed the availability of these genres. She is transsexual and has recently undergone gender correction. The move to Stenhamra was meant to give her a fresh start, and some peace and quiet from her old life. She is terrified of being singled out or shunned. Ellen absolutely loves watching and talking about horror movies. She respects the parental guidance and does not usually allow children to rent R-rated movies without first consulting their parents. However, she has a soft spot for some of the Kids in town, and is sometimes persuaded to bend the rules a little. Ellen is childish 2, which means that she under- stands, more than other adults, the situation and eve- ryday life of the Kids. She easily relates to teenagers, partly because of her own longing for a childhood she never really had. This childish curiosity is what pro- tects her from being reprogrammed – Ellen simply isn’t “grown-up enough” to be able to share Jeanette’s [Ja- net’s] vision of a conformed society.

If

the Kids were to call her, the answering machine

has some kind of recorded movie quote like: “Leave

 

a

message before it gets dark, because they mostly

a message before it gets dark, because they mostly
a message before it gets dark, because they mostly

come at night… mostly.”

come at night… mostly.”
 
   
   
 
   
   
 
  a message before it gets dark, because they mostly come at night… mostly.”    
 
 
 
a message before it gets dark, because they mostly come at night… mostly.”      

49

a message before it gets dark, because they mostly come at night… mostly.”      
a message before it gets dark, because they mostly come at night… mostly.”      
CHAPTER O4 THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY 51 BREDÄNG 53 BOULDER CITY 55 INTRODUCING THE

CHAPTER

O4CHAPTER THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY 51 BREDÄNG 53 BOULDER CITY 55 INTRODUCING THE KIDS 55

CHAPTER O4 THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY 51 BREDÄNG 53 BOULDER CITY 55 INTRODUCING THE KIDS
CHAPTER O4 THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY 51 BREDÄNG 53 BOULDER CITY 55 INTRODUCING THE KIDS

THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY

51

BREDÄNG

53